Formalities: more like abnormalities.

It still doesn’t feel as though I’m 21 years old, but the polite people I’ve been encountering are constantly reminding me of that fact.

I’ve always enjoyed interpersonal communication on a first name basis. Whether it be with a friend, a family member, an acquaintance, or even a complete stranger, I’ve always preferred going by Andy.

Now then, I’ve recently become increasingly conflicted with this notion. During the time I booked my flight for Oakland, I was addressed as Mr. Cheng. The flight attendants on board said that same. The same situations occur in a restaurant setting. After calling for a reservation, they confirm that it is for Mr. Andy Cheng. Waiters and waitresses call me “sir.” This poses a problem…

I have just now been reminded of a past mishap at the gym. Wanting to work in with a gentleman, I asked, “Excuse me sir, how many more sets do you have?” He jokingly lectured me about the merits of the word “sir” and said that it was only for old people. As far as I’m concerned, my life expectancy has only expired by just over a fourth. Figuratively speaking, let’s say my life is now 27% complete. Let’s assume that the definition of old equates to >78 years of age. I’m not old.

When (or if) I become a father, I refuse to let my child(ren)’s friends call me anything but my first name. When (or if) working in a professional setting, especially in education, I will forbid anyone calling me mister, sir, or Mr. Cheng. I’d [un]gratefully accept any insult before any of the aforementioned alternative names.

You’re allowed to call me sir or mister when I am this old.

So, the catch is that I am to be addressed by my first name until I am 78. But the catch is, I’ve already lived through at least 27% of my life. If all goes according to plan, my life ends at 77.78 years of age at the latest. Apologies goes out to all you polite folks.

Skip the formalities. Just call me Andy. Please.

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