Mar 2, 2012
Years ago I worked in a camera store in Factoria, Washington. On my first day I was cleaning up the photo lab (yeah it was that long ago) and I heard some faint yelling. A co-worker told me to come to the window and check out some guy on the street. The store was located on a hill above the road, and I first feasted eyes upon the man we knew as Monkee boy (pictured, credit to Weird US.com).
Monkee boy was a different sort of man, as he was dancing and yelling while sporting what appeared to be a CD walkman. With wild hair and a huge backpack, the man danced about the street while showing he had a black belt in the ancient art of not giving a shit. I asked my co-worker what the guy's story is, and she said according to legend this man would appear often in the area singing to the Monkees and showing off his moves for no apparent reason.
I admired his energy, as he would do this for hours on end, dancing up and down the street and belting out the lyrics to this silly band. This went on for months, until one fateful day I stepped out of the back room of the store to see him engaged in conversation with a co-worker. My eyes lit up, here I was in the same vicinity with what was known as the village weirdo. He then turned his attention towards me.
Ye gods the dancing maniac was going to engage in conversation with me.
He asked if I knew him. I said I didn't know him personally, but I saw him on a daily basis. He remarked that it was awesome I was aware of his existence. I asked him what he listened to while dancing, and he confirmed it was the Monkees and the Beattles, even going so far as to pull a toy Monkee car from his backpack and displaying it for me.
His name is Kenny and he talked about his search for employment, which wasn't going well. He asked for an application, which I gave him. He started filling it out, but seemed to be struggling as he didn't understand some of the questions. A customer came in and dropped off some film and he turned to her and asked if she knew him. She responded in the positive, which gave him excitment that he was so popular, dubious reasons be damned.
I asked if he was aware what people think of him as he danced about at all hours of the day and night. He said he didn't care, but I didn't buy it. He really loved the attention he was receiving, which struck me as odd. He had to know people thought of him as a freak, but he didn't seem to mind, as long as he stuck in their memory.
Kenny was your anything but average attention whore. While meeting him then, and the frequent visits he made later, solved some of the mysteries surrounding his antics, I still wondered why someone like him would do such a thing. What compells someone to wake up and say, "You know how I want to spend my day? Dancing around in the street to classic boy bands."
As he got more familiar with the staff the conversations got a bit weirder and more perverse as he would talk about things ranging from politics to soliciting the services of Vegas hookers (an activity he engaged in. No I've never done that, nor ever will.) The female staff members were a bit taken aback by him as he seemed to get a bit flirty, so I walked down to the gas station across the street to talk with the employee who I've seen talk to Kenny at great lengths. I asked the obvious questions, if he was harmless or not, to which the guy, in a thick Indian accent, told me Kenny was a very nice person, just had a really rough childhood and this is his vice to escape his homelife.
I pitied Kenny from then on. He was a sad character who just wanted to be loved and paid attention to, but in all my conversations with him, he seemed so happy in what he was doing, and he did it with energy few even have. I envied him in a way, as at the time I wished there was something I could get that excited about, even if it was silly music.
I left the job after about a year and saw Kenny from time to time. Last I saw him he had gainful employment holding signs for Dominoes Pizza and the like, dancing on the sidewalk and promoting their food. He finally landed something that fits his marketable skills, and I smiled a bit, thinking good ole Monkee boy has found his calling. Godspeed Kenny, godspeed.
"So in short: he’s got the look, the moves, the recognition and steady work doing what he loves best. By any standard, he’s good to go! Rock on, Kenny!" - Weird Washington