Henry, my Butler

It started with Henry, or rather, with his absence.

I would call for him.  Not rudely, mind you.  Just a little call, from the couch. 

But–nothing.  Nary a peep in return.  No Henry dashing to service.  No calm and collected footsteps, no tray of culinary delights.  Nothing.

Now, I know for a fact–my source being one P.J. Wodehouse–that butlers are meant to shimmer into service.  Henry was meant to simply pop up, the thing already done the instant that the desire occurred to me.

But Henry did not.  I will grant that I had never formally hired Henry.  I will even grant you that I have never met a Henry (who wasn’t a cat).  But I felt, on principle, Henry should just come. Good help would.

So I began thinking: Maybe if actually HIRED Henry, he’d come.  I began imagining his face drop as he surveyed his new domicile, and my face dropping as he took over my couch.  (Musing about this while starving on the couch being preferable to cooking dinner myself.)

And this brought to mind the other pressing question.  What would Henry buttle?

So I texted someone from my couch to find the answer.  And to my perturbation, it turned out that butlers head one’s household staff.  Now, as I am the only member of my household staff, this means that if I hired Henry, he would be the boss of me.

That would not do.  That position is already taken: I am the boss of me. And it’s a lifetime position–I checked before signing.  So this was a bitter finding indeed.

Gone were my dreams of Henry.  I reconciled myself to this fact, on the couch. 

But then the tide turned.  No, I was not called by a butler service letting me know they were having a promotion and I could have a free butler for a year with an option for renewal.  Something a little more subtle, like me.

You see, it had occurred to me–What was Henry’s job?  It was to satisfy my every whim, right?  To be at my beck and call.  To make my home a palace.

And what does A/C do?  You get my drift, I think.  Right before the heat wave, I made the call.

Henry I, who was installed in my bedroom window, is simply marvelous.  While neither he nor Henry II, sitting enthroned in my living/dining room, are particularly SILENT Henries, I find I am willing to have a purring rather than a shimmering Henry.  Just so long as when I snap my fingers they hop to service…

Every woman should have a Henry.  And probably every man, too.  Bertie Wooster would agree.


About sputnitsa

Born in the US, I grew up in Africa and the West Indies, and returned stateside in my teens. After a decade in international development, democracy work, and inclusivity training for domestic NGOs, I joined Peace Corps, and after a year, experienced my first Russian invasion. I followed that up by volunteering with refugees and youth, and after some vacation time climbing minarets and mountains, I returned to New York City, where today I work on social justice with college students, produce short films, and write.
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10 Responses to Henry, my Butler

  1. Beth says:

    This post made my day. 🙂

    Glad to see you’re keeping cool!

  2. ralfast says:

    “Now, as I am the only member of my household staff, this means that if I hired Henry, he would be the boss of me.”


    Keeping it cool!

    Now off to research the 1920s!

    • sputnitsa says:

      Yes, finding out that my butler would be the boss of me was a SERIOUS blow to not only hiring one (the lack of cash being another weenie obstacle), but also to my daydreams on the couch. 🙂

      Good luck in the 1920s! 🙂

  3. It takes rare talent to write so wittily of an air conditioner!

    Loved this post! 🙂

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