Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Recently, I’ve added another title to the growing list. I am now, among my multitude of other titles, “Lord” Richard Bleil.
For some reason, I’m rather enjoying holding titles. Some are legitimate, some I’m sure are not. I take on titles that at least have a chance of being legitimately recognized by somebody, if not everybody. This title, for example, is because of a donation that is supposed to secure a one square foot patch of land in Ireland, presumably enough to hold a title assuming that the organization with whom I made the donation actually uses it as they say they will. This is supposedly a conservation group, buying land so it cannot be developed to help preserve the land. Although I won’t use my title, it’s a good cause and they sent me a very official looking certificate. So that’s cool.
Of course, I’m already a Knight. In fact, I am a Knight Templar. This title was bestowed upon me by the York Rite of the Masons. Within the Mason, there are two Rites, and the Shrine. The stated goal of the Masons is to “make good men better”, and it does a great job at this. The roots of the Masons can reasonably be traced back to the Knights Templar, and as such they claim the right to confer the title. Having reached sufficient rank in the York Rite, I had the title conferred upon me. People can argue if it is a legitimate title or not, but I still hold it in my heart and call on it to keep my behavior and beliefs consistent with protecting the weak and downtrodden.
My first title was Doctor. No, not Medical Doctor. I had my Ph.D. conferred to me at Boston College in 1992. It’s been argued that I’m not a “real doctor” since I’m not medical, but who do you suppose teaches medical doctors their craft? In academia, Ph.D. is considered to be a higher rank than M.D. This is one title that should never be questioned, and yet it was. Applying for an adjunct chemistry job at a tiny little college in Iowa, they didn’t like the way my transcript had been recorded. Back then, BC still had not converted to an electronic transcript, so it was written out, and faxed to this little college. The all-to-young administrator who apparently knew everything questioned the legitimacy of the transcript. Yes, it was annoying to say the least.
I am a minister and have been recognized as such as I performed my ministerial duties as officiant at a couple of weddings. This title is from an independent church in California that does not require training. It does require a small one-time fee, though. Originally the church offered the divine title as a tax dodge, when ministers did not have to pay taxes. The government did catch on, though, saying that ministers do not pay taxes but only on monies collected specifically in the line of their ministerial duties. Otherwise, yes, pay your damned taxes. Today the church still recognizes ministers across the nation (and probably worldwide), and most states do recognize us as legitimate ministers, but they advertise it as “if you have this title, you can marry your friends”. Well, not marry your friends, but marry your friends if you know what I mean. So yes, I’m a minister.
I’m also a saint. This same church, which is independent and considered a legitimate church, also recognizes saints within the church for a small fee. No miracles required. I was talking with a young couple that I was going to marry and explained this, when she burst out laughing. “You could be the church’s Saint of Science and Mathematics!!!” she said through her tears of laughter. So, yes, I am the Saint of S&M in the church. Science and Mathematics. Why? What were YOU thinking?
I feel as if I’ve forgotten some titles here. Truth be told, though, there are some titles that I do not have, and never will despite the fact that I truly wish I did, namely the titles “husband” and “father”. I’ve always wanted to be married and have a family, but that’s the one thing I’ve failed at and miserably. My tombstone will be missing the words “Loving Husband and Father”. I even wonder if there will be a tombstone at all. If it does list my titles, though, I doubt anybody would even believe them all. Heck, I don’t believe them all. But I guess I’ll keep searching for my next one.