Sunday 28 October 2018

His Royal Youthfulness

Originating Honorifics
I was thinking this morning...... about originating honorifics. As I pulled out of my street onto the main road that early Thursday morning heading to the office, I turned on the radio to apprise myself of the day's news. There was a commercial break and the student wing of Ohaneze Ndigbo Rivers State was congratulating one of their own that has been appointed leader of the group. It sounded like the usual Nigerian notice-me, favour-seeking advert which I gave no attention until they announced, 'This is signed by His Royal Youthfulness blablabah.' I was like, seriously? Royal Youthfulness?

I smiled in disbelief, wondering how these young men could just formulate a new honorific and start using it on air without approval. Do they really understand what the 'Royal Highness' they have adapted to 'Royal Youthfulness' mean? In order to truly establish the emptiness of their action, I needed to first establish the origin of 'His Royal Highness (HRH).' I found out the term 'Royal Highness' was first used by the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria in 1633 while traveling through Italy on his way to the Low Countries. On meeting Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy, he refused to address him as Highness until the Duke addressed him as 'Royal Highness.' Thus the first use of the style 'Royal Highness.' I was actually humbled by the finding and thought that if a mere mortal like Archduke Ferdinand of Austria could coin the term 'His Royal Highness,' what stops the youth wing of Ohaneze Ndigbo from instituting 'His Royal Youthfulness?'

As I paused to let the point sink in, I noticed an overflow of my mental juices and needed to savour it in order not to lose the value. With the first drop came the thought that we may have missed out on opportunities to put our names in the Encyclopedia or Wikipedia of Titles like Archduke Ferdinand of Austria. Think about it; There are men's association in some villages where the strongest man is chosen as leader. Tell me, why can't the leader be addressed as 'His Royal Manliness?' See my point? There was another drop that reminded me of a group of unemployed job seekers that formed an association and selected a leader. Shouldn't the leader be addressed as 'His Royal Joblessness?'

The drops were coming faster now. I recalled the popular Palmwine Drinkers Club also known as Kegites Club in Nigerian Universities. I wondered why the head of any Ilya (branch) will be addressed as 'Chiefo' instead of the more honorable 'His Royal Drunkenness.' Sounded funny to me, but the smile on my lips soon disappeared when I thought about Nigeria political leaders. They embezzle the funds meant to build roads and hospitals for the masses, while they and their families go on vacation and medical tourism abroad, yet we address them as 'His or Her Excellence.' How misplaced. They should henceforth be addressed as 'His Royal Wickedness.'

As I made the final turn into the car park at my office complex, I imagined how I should be addressed since I am neither a politician nor a chairman of any association. A gentle smile returned as I remembered 1st Peter 2:9 that says 'But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.' On that strength, I concluded I should be addressed henceforth as 'His Royal Priestliness.'

Happy Sunday.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

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