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Henry: I Am a Nabob No More

Mike Henry
Mike Henry

I am sick and tired of you people referring to me as a nabob right in front of my devoted followers. It brings to my incredibly fertile mind Spiro Agnew’s infamous “nattering nabobs of negativism” comment. I also recall the scores of nabobs, whom I shant name here, who have crashed and burned in full view of an unforgiving proletariat.

But I have news for you. You’re not going to have this nabob to kick around any more. Here’s why:


That’s right. MY IDENTITY HAS BEEN STOLEN. I received the notice from my bank and ran right away to the police department.

“Name, please,” the desk sergeant said. He sported a bulbous, W.C. Fields nose, with meandering dark rivulets on a field of fiery red ground chuck at the end of his proboscis.  

“I’m not sure,” I said, “but I’d like to report a theft.”

He rolled his eyes and leaned back in his chair, fingers interlocked behind his head, elbows akimbo.

“We got to start with your name, Bub,” he said. I was immediately suspicious. “Bub” is awfully close to the last syllable of nabob. Was there some kind of conspiracy here, perhaps going back as far as my dalliance with the notorious Ancient Alien Cabal? (Pause here) Nah. Probably just a coincidence. Bravely, I put the “Bub” appellation aside and continued.

“I’ve been notified that my identity has been stolen and I am here to report it and sign a complaint or affidavit to have the guy arrested.”

“Okay,” he sighed. “What’s his name?”

I told him my name, or what used to be my identity before it was stolen. He nodded. I know he was thinking “now we’re getting somewhere” because it was that kind of a nod.

“Also, this is the first time this has happened to me, so I want to know who I am now?”


“I’ve been me a long time. This will take some getting used to. But I’ve always admired the name Von Shtup, maybe I could be the Baron Von Shtup.”

“You got a driver’s license?”

I gave him my former license. He shook it at me.

“This is the name of the guy you claim stole your identity. But this is you, Bub. What are you trying to pull here?”

No wonder local crimes go unsolved. I was exasperated with the sergeant’s ignorance, not to mention his second “Bub.” There actually might be a conspiracy, and you people out there might be in on it.

“My license shows me before my identity was stolen. Now I don’t know who I am supposed to be. How do I find out?”

The sergeant threw the identity thief’s driver’s license at me.

“My God, man,” I said, spinning out of control. “Will I wear the same size clothes? What about my wife. Does the new guy get her and my kids? What if she likes him better? You have to get word to her. Tell her I still love her, and I’m sorry she found out I ran over her mother.”

I looked over my shoulder at the sergeant as I was being dragged out of the station by additional members of the anti-nabobian conspiracy, these two also cleverly disguised as policemen.  

“You’ll hear from my lawyer,” I screamed, but soon realized as I lay crumpled on the sidewalk outside the precinct that the new guy probably gets my lawyer, too. And my gastroenterologist. 

I took a deep breath and began to smile as I became conscious of the positive aspects of my new status. The new guy—he gets my mortgage, my debts, and the lawsuits against me arising out of the explosion that destroyed the downtown locomotive turntable.

I picked myself up and skipped down the street whistling the theme from BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI, relishing the freedom of the anonymous, a nabob no more. 

Michael Henry is a writer in Oxford. A graduate of Tulane and Virginia Law School, Henry published his seventh novel, Finding Ishmael, in April 2014.

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