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411: our records don't show a hannibal tabu...
didn't you used to go by another name?

One of the most irritating questions that people ask me (and the list of irritating questions is quite long, I assure you) is, "Hannibal Tabu ... is that your real name?"

This is most often after I've introduced myself to someone, or someone else has introduced me. Now, if I did have another name, and I introduced myself as Hannibal, what makes this moron think I'd suddenly fess up, and say, "Oh, my, no one ever thought to ask me that, I have to tell you, honestly, my name is Mortimer" or something insipid like that.

For the record, my name is Hannibal, not Mortimer.

People who date me call me Hannibal. My mother calls me Hannibal. So do my brothers, my sisters, my best friends, my employers and everybody I know. I cash checks made out to "Hannibal Tabu." My magazine subscriptions come to "Hannibal Tabu." Those magazine articles and features? Guess what the byline says. Hannibal Tabu is my name.

Now, have I done business under other names, have I operated under other names at different parts of my life? Hell yeah. I still say my name is "Jack" whenever I need to order food or make a reservation, since spelling my name ("H-A-N-N-I-B-as in bounce-A-L") gets really tiresome. Does that have anything to do with who I am? No. Is it anybody else's business? Not in the slightest. I do what I have to do, and as a grown ass man, I don't brook any questioning of it.

If you see something associated to me that has another name on it, it's probably just some madness I'm doing to redirect attention away from myself. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I have two modes of operation -- loud/everpresent, and low profile/secretive.

Anybody who grows up with a "non-standard" name catches a great deal of hell. Mockery from other children, mispronunciations from teachers and others reading it aloud, misspellings of every possible (and impossible) configuration. The last thing somebody like that wants to hear, the last thing I wanna hear, is somebody who doesn't have a gun and a badge asking me to justify my identity. My name is Hannibal Tabu, and that's all you really need to know.

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