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As soon as Kenneth got out of the boyish Kenny stage and friends and family members began calling him Ken, he suddenly loved his name. In fact, he loved the simple word itself: Ken.

Not this Ken either.

It came upon him so heavily, this love of his name, that he did research to find as many meanings of Ken that he could. And so he came up with Ken, short and nick for Kenneth and ken as in understanding (“Do you ken what I’m telling you?”) and ken as in the Old English kenning which means when you call someone by their definition or occupation instead of by their real name. To keep things going there is also ken as to perceive, ken as to know, ken as to recognize and ken as knowledge its own self.

And then there was the mispronunciation of “can” into ken – just to freak people out a bit. Any word that starts with “can” or even “con” would be fodder for his wordmill. And so he put together his own kendentious language that sounded something like this:

“Ken you ken the kento by Pound that ken make you ken what ken’t be told in any other kented way? Kentankerously done, you kenscientiously kennot!

Signed, Ken.”

Not this Ken either.

His friends and family, upon reading this strange missive, immediately made arrangements for Ken to be put away. First, of course, they had him see a psychiatrist who, very shortly and clear in his conscience, signed the commitment papers.

In the psychiatric ward Ken was in his element. Here were other persons like him, in their own worlds, speaking their own languages, seeing things in ways unimaginable to those who professed to be “normal,” whatever that meant.

“A man ken get comfortable here,” Ken thought out loud as he was escorted to his bed. “It’s just like home.”

“Really?” said the orderly as they reached the Ken’s bed. “In what way is it home, Brother?”

“Like the place you go to when you’re needing sweets; this is the place you come to for kendy. When you need to go to the bathroom; your very own ken is here. When you need light; here are all the kendles and kendescent light bulbs you’ll ever need. See what I mean? It’s the place to be, Friend; the place you ken feel free and be yourself.”

The orderly looked at Ken oddly, then shrugged and walked back up the aisle down which the two of them had just come, then out the door of the ward. Ken never saw him again.

Ken was telling the truth, though. He was the only denizen of the ward who was content to be there. “Sing your kenticles, say your prayers,” he told me when I asked him. “But in the end all you need is to ken who y’are and what you need.” He made an expansive gesture, taking in the entirety of the ward. “What I need I have here. And if there’s something that I need that I ken’t find here, I ken ask for it and, most times if it’s not too expensive, I ken get it.”

All this, his psychiatrist thought, just for the love of a single syllable: ken. His family did not even break it down so far to try to understand it; for them, Ken was simply nuts. And most of his friends were of the same mind.

In Ken’s world, though, he was the only sane person alive.

Definitely not this Ken.

By Stephen Faulkner who is just a regular guy who likes to take apart the world and put it back together in amusing ways. He is looking for people who share his singular style and sense of humor. Steve lives in Decatur, Georgia with his wife and five cats.

©2015, all rights reserved
published with the permission of the author

If you want to read the first story by Steven Faulkner, which precedes this one, go here.