My Week 242: Swearing an Oath

Recently, the secret agency took on a group of summer students. They’re a delightful bunch, young, enthusiastic and eager to learn. I like to check in on them every so often to make sure they’re doing ok, and last week one of them said to me, “Yes, it’s been great so far. But it was so weird–did you know, I had to swear an oath to the Queen?” And I was like, “Oh yeah–we all did that. It’s no biggie–it just means that if she needs you, you have to fly over to England. Sometimes she gets lonely. A couple of years ago, I got the call and when I got there, all she wanted was someone to listen to her gripe about Philip. Apparently he snores and spends WAY too long in the bathroom.” The girl looked at me in shock so I had to explain that I was kidding. But it reminded of me of how I reacted when I first hired at the secret agency and took the oath myself…

Because I just saw Avengers’ Endgame.

Before I started the job, I had to meet first with my Human Resources contact to fill in a lot of paperwork. We were filling in the usual forms—contact information, computer log-ins, keys, and other stuff, when she said, “Oh—although we’re a secret agency, you’re technically a public servant, so you have to take an oath of allegiance.” She said this kind of matter-of-factly, like I took oaths every day. (This is the beginning of me going off on a very long tangent, so sit back and enjoy.) Actually, I HAD just taken an oath recently, because that December, I fought a traffic ticket. I got nailed by a red light camera going through an intersection on the red light. BUT, to be fair, I was only going 40 km/hour, and didn’t think it was right that I had to pay almost $400 for NOT running a red light, but more like sauntering through it—honestly, I just didn’t see it, which I know is a lousy excuse, but I felt like someone needed to know that I am NOT by nature a red-light runner. So I went to traffic court, where they give you the option of swearing to tell the truth by either putting your hand on a bible, or by just saying it VERY SINCERELY without the bible. I opted for the latter, since I don’t think that anyone’s god particularly cares whether or not I lie in traffic court. Plus, they had a picture of my SUV and my licence plate actually IN the intersection where the light is clearly red, so there would be no point in lying anyway, since I was caught dead to rights. What could I possibly say? “Your Honour, this picture is obviously photoshopped. Your James Bond-ish hightech team is super-clever, but that’s not my truck.”? Long story short, it turns out I didn’t even need to be apologetic, because before I got to say anything, the court officer immediately announced, “We’re reducing your fine to $150.” I felt like he kind of stole my thunder, but I was in no position to complain. Then I had to go in front of the judge and plead guilty, but I qualified it thusly, “Guilty, your honour, but I didn’t mean to do it.” And the judge dismissed the case “with costs” and I wondered if that would also work for more serious crimes, like “Yes, your honour, I stole the puppy from the pet store, but I didn’t mean to do it. Look, he’s so snuggly” and the judge would be like “I completely understand. Give me one hundred dollars. So what are you going to call him?” But that would lead to anarchy, with people stealing puppies everywhere and whatnot, and also I would call him Alistair.

Anyway, so there I was, wondering what kind of oath the Human Resources person was talking about. Was it an oath where I promised not to look at porn or run an online dating service on my work computer? Because I have no problem with that kind of oath, since I have no interest in doing either, and can’t imagine what kind of person WOULD think this is OK to do at work. But wait—it was NOT that kind of oath. It was a pledge of allegiance to the Queen. Not a queen like Guinevere or Latifah, or the band Queen, or even a Disney Queen (by the way, I just googled Disney Queens and one of the search hits was “Why Drag Queens are better role models than Disney Queens”. I am DEFINITELY going back to read that one later.) No, it was THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND. Actually, I had a choice—I could either pledge my allegiance to “the Queen and all her heirs in the eyes of god”, or I could just pledge my allegiance to old Lizzy herself. So I chose the latter, again on the premise that I don’t believe that anyone’s god particularly cares about my relationship with an aging monarch. But the pledge was very vague, and I didn’t know what the ramifications of all this might be. What exactly are my responsibilities? If she commands my presence in England as one of her loyal subjects will she pay for the flight, or is that just one of the expenses that go along with being one of her servants? If she gets in a Twitter war with the Queen of Jordan, do I have to post nice things about her in her defence? Or worse, post mean things about the Queen of Jordan (who seems like a kind of cool queen herself)? Babysit all those grandkids? Walk the Corgis? So I guess the next time she’s having trouble picking out a hat for the Queen’s Ball or whatever, I might have to be there to help out. I mean, I took an OATH.

I picked out that hat.

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54 thoughts on “My Week 242: Swearing an Oath

  1. That whole oath to the queen is so weird. Why isn’t it to the government and people of Canada? Like our stupid national anthem, which really feels inclusive to republican-leaning atheists. God Save the Queen, indeed. “Dear imaginary character, please ensure a rich person I’m not interested in is safe.”
    Meh. I worked for the police and never had to swear an oath.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I assume the secret agency has a British connection and that this is common practice “across the pond.” I mean, if it were a Chinese company or, say, SONY, it wouldn’t make much sense. I’m always a bit hesitant to swear allegiance or swear at all in courts and business. I never know when it will come back to bite me later. But in the grand scheme of things, the queen doesn’t seem that risky.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That was friggin’ awesome. Of course, over here, our orange monarch has rendered the taking of an oath utterly meaningless, so I wouldn’t sweat it, if I were you. They should add a third option of taking an oaf. If that’s your choice, they surrender a big, stupid oaf to your care and you get to take him places, like the skate park or the antiques store.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Have you found out what it means yet? It must be strange to think that you’re so far away from England but still need to pledge allegiance to Maj! 😀 That was nice of the court to reduce your fine… quite an incentive lol

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Wow, how strange. We pledge our allegiance to the country not a person, which I’m totally okay with since the people that seem to be running our country are a bunch of stupid heads. So I pledge allegiance to my country with pride! And I think if you have to pledge to the Liz, you should get to pick out her hats and maybe get her to wear something a bit more fun and outgoing, LMAO.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I kind of envy you Canadians having a monarchy. Many years ago David Letterman started one of his “Top Ten” lists and it was something like “Ways America Loses Out By Not Being A Commonwealth Country”, and it started with something like “We don’t have a symbolic monarchy to pay homage to”. His bandleader Paul Schaffer interrupted to say that even though he, Paul, was a Canadian he didn’t like to hear America put down (typical Canadian politeness) and Dave pulled out another list of ten things Communists are terrible at. This was the ’80’s and making fun of the Soviet Union was a cliche and I was annoyed.
    The important thing, though, is, will Alistair get along with Titus? I’m sure he will. Everyone gets along with Titus.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I forget – how many corgis does she have? I’ll take some & you take some others – how much does it pay? … & here in the states, I thot the queen was only tourism bait…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. For some reason, all this time, I thought Canada was a sovereign nation beholden to no man or Queen (or tap beer) outside its own borders. See what happens when y’all don’t join your southern neighbors for tea parties and bloody musket fights? We don’t mention a queen once in our national anthem.

    Come to think of it we don’t mention God, either, in the famous version and yet every aspect of our lives seems to revolve around the big daddy in the sky. Maybe we’re better off with a ceremonial, but largely irrelevant, mistress of the realm instead?

    And speaking of gods, I looked it up and there ARE gods who would care if you ran a red light, notably Hermes of the Greeks. Among many other things he is also the “god of roads” and you should probably say your oath to him next time you’re in court for a frivolous traffic matter or he might turn your entire case over to the goddess of justice, Dike.

    And I ain’t touching the joke connected to that one for all the coin in the realm. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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