“I write in the shadow and spirit of Mark Twain and Bill Shakespeare. My greatest dream and aspiration is that they will laugh with me . . . and not laugh me out of the classroom.”
At the age of fifteen, during the process of being given traveling papers by three high schools and attending four – I was sent to live with my grandparents in Rensselaer, Indiana. There I began writing my autobiography, “Diary of A Dumbass”. Approximately four chapters into it, I came home to find my grandmother standing over my underwear drawer in my bedroom where she had retrieved my work from where it lay hidden under a stack of BVDs. She was gripping it in her hand and shaking it in my face, screaming, “Kenton Henry – this is a disgrace to our family!”
I replied, “But grandma – our family is a disgrace!” At which point, she ripped my entire work to pieces. It was not until I was in a college creative writing class I again began work on my memoirs. This time, I returned home from class to find my wife shaking my grand opus in her hand much as my grandmother had. And the same result followed. It seems some people simply cannot handle the truth.
It would be thirty years before I began anew. In the meantime, I had graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Social Work. My career goal was to take control of America using hostile measures and return it to the Native American. I intended to get a law degree, move to Arizona and become a “Billy Jack” of sorts. A karate kicking, martial artist carrying a brief case serving as a community organizer for the Navajo and other reservations. I became disillusioned when I determined the Indians didn’t want any more white guys coming on their reservations telling them how it should be. With that, I returned to Texas where I had lived as a small boy and later during my tour in search of a high school degree.
Finding it difficult to save myself, much less the rest of the world, during some difficult economic times, I was backed into a career in insurance kicking and screaming. In time I built a successful business in the medical insurance market. For twenty years it sustained me quite well until recent legislative changes forced me, once again, to reinvent myself.
My metamorphosis on this occasion began with taking chemistry classes at my local community college. Because of wisdom and practical experience – garnered from years in the private market – I have fast tracked my new career by developing two revolutionary products. The first is a pest control product. Specifically, it is a “Cat Food Aphrodisiac” which (when mixed with Fancy Feast) makes cats absolutely irresistible to mice. The second is a chemical sanitation product which when added to raw sewage makes it smell like perfectly good tacos. I am currently marketing it in border towns along the Rio Grande and all the way to the west coast. If I land the Tijuana account it will be an economic boon to Tijuana and all of Mexico as tourists will literally run for the border. I will be able to retire in luxury and hereafter be known as the “Ron Popeil of Poo”.
In my spare time, in addition to riding my Harley, I teach Shakespeare to death row inmates at the Huntsville State Prison and judge armadillo beauty contests. When not attending Mensa International conventions, I continue working on my autobiography, “Diary of a Dumbass”.
The events and experiences which led me to become the person I am today are reflected in the stories and poems which follow. They consist mostly of what I describe as autobiographical fiction. I include the qualifier, “fiction” as a disclaimer of sorts to protect the guilty. For the most part, that would be me.
I believe in some of this you will sense an undercurrent of slight regret and remorse but, hopefully, you will find my tales, rhymes and reflections humorous. Any positive insights or lessons you might gain would make me that much happier. In the words of a famous clown I once had the pleasure of knowing, “We are all actors in a grand play. We can choose to be either happy or sad performers. I choose happy!” I made that clown a promise I would do my part to make people smile. Again, I hope BardofTheWoods does that much for you.
Don Kenton Henry
Poet, Road Warrior, Refugee from Convention . . . Ever at your service . . .
This story, my first post – more than any I have written to date – provides the setting for most of the escapades and follies of my youth. Specifically, these take place in the fictitious town of Finn’s Landing, Indiana. In reality, the town where I spent the majority of my youth is Peru, Indiana. I took poetic license and of changed it’s name, first, because I am fond of all things Irish. And, secondly, because – to one residing outside that state – hearing the name of a South American city ascribed to a small mid-western corn town generally has the effect of causing their eyes to cross.