The Man from UNCLE

I really don’t like it when people I’m not related to make their children call me “Uncle Paul???.

I’m not their uncle…the parents wouldn’t make them call me Steve, or Geoff, or Bob, so why “Uncle???? It’s been suggested that it’s to do with teaching respect for elders, but I don’t buy that – if I deserve the child’s respect I’ll get it, regardless of what they call me. And if I don’t deserve it, a false name won’t help.

My ickle Godson’s Mum takes a delight in making her boys call me “Uncle Paul???, not because she believes in it but because she likes to tease me. Daniel’s still a bit young to join in, but his big brother takes great delight in bouncing round the room chanting “Uncle Paul, Uncle Paul, Uncle Paul???. He doesn’t really know he’s winding me up, but he understands that it’s part of a game between me and his Mum.

Why don’t I like it? Don’t know really. When I was a kid I had to call my cousins (who are all rather older than me) “Uncle??? and “Auntie???, and I remember when I reached a certain age being very embarrassed at not being sure whether I was yet old enough to call them by their given names or not, and a year or so later, the same with the other adults in whose circles I moved. When I was about 12 I had a friend whose parents insisted that everyone, regardless of age, call them Pete and Phillis, and it seemed so much more natural.

There’s also the whole “pretend uncle??? thing, which always reminds me of those films they used to show us at primary school, about not getting into cars with strange men (oddly, those films all said something like “If you’re worried, ask a lady for help???, in spite of the fact that they were made within a few years after Myra Hindley was prosecuted).

So, my friends’ children all call me “Paul???, which is after all my name. Except for Alice and Elizabeth (Gill and Geoff’s girls), who for some reason call me “the Short Fat Bald Bloke???

Comments are closed.