Jack The Lad

I’ve always had some issues with looking young.

Whatever people say, and however pleased the supermarket tells me I should be about being asked for ID, it’s not always a great thought when the person behind the till thinks that I look like I can be easily influenced by comic book violence.  Even the greying sides of my head don’t seen to be able to convince people that I’m over 18.

I started at my current place of work nearly straight after leaving university at the age of 21.  Back then, I was the youngest person in our department and I was probably quite a lot younger than most of the rest of the workforce.  Plus, I had no grey hair.

Comments were made about me being the “baby” of the office but something that I’ve noticed over 12 years later is that I am still regularly referred to as “lad”.

Now, just to expand on this, it isn’t many of my direct colleagues that call me this.  It’s generally the none office based staff that call me “lad” and it can be when they’re talking to me in the course of my job or when I see them in the corridor, hold a door open etc.

I’m not too bothered by it, to be honest, contrary to how you probably saw this post going.  I think there is a time and a place for informal naming.  I’m not one of these people who like to be called “Sir” but, similarly, it annoys when I’ve introduced myself as Michael and my full surname, only for them to start calling me Mike.

When I was attempting to learn other languages, one of my main struggles was when I could use formal or informal pronouns without offending.

But, as I said, it’s not offence that I take from being called “lad”, a word that in my dictionary is usually applied to youths.  What bothers me is how I must be being perceived to be called that.  It’s a stretch to call it ageism perhaps, but it is possible that such terms of endearment show a bias that reflects negatively on someone in a particular environment.

It’s kind of a strange situation, wanting to be able to connect with people whilst wanting to make sure that they respect you and what you do, especially when the term being used is based on something that is fundamentally you.

Lawrence in the desert
How was he to know?
Under so much pressure
from the men back home
Play with fire you must be mad
Are you only Jack the lad?
Play with guns you must be bad
or hiding something, Jack

Telling lies in public
Breaking codes at home
Underneath the blankets
for another role
Tell these lies you must be mad
Are you only Jack the lad?
To feast with panthers every night
you must be careful, Jack

Don’t let them try to restrain you
This is your only religion
Don’t let them try to detain you
You’re not the only fool
We all fall, l even Jack the lad
We all fall, even Jack the lad will fall

Philby in the desert
looking for a phone
waiting on the pavement
for a call from home
Play with fire you must be mad
Are you only Jack the lad?
Turn your back on friends you had
They must have hurt you, Jack

Don’t let them try to restrain you
This is your only religion
Don’t let them try to detain you
You’re not the only fool
We all fall, even Jack the lad
We all fall, even Jack the lad will fall

Jack The Lad by Pet Shop Boys

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