Robert W. Park (rwpark@WATARTS.UWATERLOO.CA)
Sun, 3 Mar 1996 12:00:58 -0500

Concerning the public's automatic assumption that "Doctor" means MD,
several years ago I chose a lawyer from the yellow pages to handle my
divorce. Perhaps because I was feeling low about myself, I identified
myself on the phone to the secretary as "Dr. Robert Park" when arranging my
first appointment. At the meeting the dismay on his face was almost comical
as he realized that, instead of handling the potentially lucrative divorce
of a physician or surgeon, he was dealing with an essentially penniless
sessional lecturer...

And in the course of moving my bank accounts to a new branch a couple of
years ago I discovered that their forms now have a checkbox for "Dr." along
with the usual "Mr.," "Mrs.," "Ms.," etc. The bank employee helping me
became much more helpful until I explained that, no, I didn't have a
practice--I taught at the university. But perhaps a glimpse at my bank
balance also helped to wreck the image my ticking that checkbox had


Robert W. Park
Department of Anthropology (519) 888-4567 extension 5666
University of Waterloo