Oor Wullie meets the Flintstones

9th January 1998 at 00:00
Greg is back. He never really went away but was largely submerged by Gregor for a long time. To explain: until I was 15, no one ever contracted my first name. Then one of my pals shortened Gregor to Greg and it stuck within a small group of friends at secondary school. I didn't mind, feeling that the new handle rather suited the would-be motorcyclist with a developing penchant for punk and rock music.

At university, I was almost exclusively Greg. I didn't mind, feeling that the no-longer-new handle rather suited the motorcyclistminivan drivercyclist with a liking for rock music and a developing appreciation for thoughtful lyrics, who could now and again actually be seen with a girlfriend on his arm.

At teacher training college, Gregor was back. I didn't mind, feeling that the full name rather suited the man with the world's dullest sports jacket, who resented the fact that the Moray House disco never played Status Quo and who had a Lothian Region Transport season ticket but dreamed of buying a convertible when he qualified. The longer name was mature but not boring, a sort of moustache of the psyche.

The situation became complicated when I started teaching in Lanark at a split-site school. Most of the science department call me Gregor, save for one friend who has used Greg from day one. This man and I are often involved in the technical back-up side of school shows, so other members of staff from different parts of the campus who are also involved in these productions know me as Greg, too. I don't mind.

I don't mind that I have had to become Greg at my classic car owners' club. There is another Gregor there; so I adopted my alternative label to avoid confusion. I felt it rather suited the Triumph Herald-driving young-ish dad with the round mirror shades I bought for a fiver to stop me getting migraines. It went, I believed, with something of a new image - slightly less dull sports jacket and radical haircut.

Yes, I have moved to the third phase of balding-man's haircut. After "comb it over" and "sweep it back", I'm now getting it cropped close with electric clippers. This is a haircut that says: who wants to have hair anyway? This is a rug rethink that songwriter Tom Robinson would have sported, had he written "Glad to be Bald" rather than "Glad to be Gay".

Such were my ego-inflating thoughts. Fortunately, deflation was on hand in the form of our physics technician. This very nice lady had been absent when my new thatch made its debut. When she saw my haircut for the first time she admired it, then immediately went on to say how much her family enjoyed Oor Wullie books. Her train of thought was stunningly obvious.

The following day, bearing her no malice, I treated her to a wave as I drove into school. When I next saw her, she asked me if I liked Mr Bean. Apparently I reminded her of Rowan Atkinson's character in his Mini.

My ego picked up slightly when the technician told me her daughter disagreed. Sadly, though, this fifth-year girl reckoned that the fellow I give a lift to and I were more reminiscent of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble (respectively).

I have yet to undergo formal appraisal but have possibly just undergone the informal kind. Greg's back, and, as ever, he's just the same as Gregor.

Gregor Steele Greg Steele should be able to come up with snappier end pieces than Gregor, but can't think of one at the moment.

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