Saturday, March 28, 2009

My son the white van man

Yiddisher Mommas are famous for referring to "my son the doctor" -- though I imagine that that was mainly an older generation of Yiddisher Mommas at work. Perhaps it has to be "My son the Professor" these days.

So the fact that my son is a white van man would no doubt be looked upon with pity by some. In fact it would be looked on with speechlessness in much of English society. "White van man" is the euphemism for the working class in England these days. And under them in the hierarchy are "chavs" -- loud young people who may or may not work but who are flashy rather than bright -- an important distinction.

So I was much amused to be told by my son last night that he has some part-time work delivering computers that people have bought from his brother's business. And he delivers them in a white van! He does it only to earn some pocket money while working towards his doctorate in Mathematics so I suspect that I might still be able to hold my head high in the company of Yiddisher Mommas. The Yiddisher Mommas I have known have always been perfectly pleasant to me so I did not really have any doubts about that. Though one of them did refer to me as "the doctor", so draw your own conclusions about that!

This all transpired at a birthday dinner for my stepson Paul -- his 33rd. There was the usual big family dinner around a long table for the occasion -- this time at an excellent Indian restaurant at Mt Gravatt. My son Joe lives with his mother so I see him mainly on family occasions but they are frequent so not much is lost.

I was pleased that Joe seems well set in his academic career path now. He finds the work he does easy and is enthusiastic about it so getting a doctorate in it should be plain sailing. His supervisor is Chinese and the Chinese in general do seem to have a higher mathematical aptitude than the rest of us so Joe was understandably talking about learning Mandarin. I warned him about how hard that would be. Joe has however always got on well with Chinese people so I think a visit to China is on the cards for him some time in the future.