IT’S ME — KENNETH KEITH!
He had long strawberry-blond hair, parted in the middle. Swooping. Feathered. The comparison was unavoidable: Farrah Fawcett. That — along with his exceedingly skinny frame, and the cough that could rattle the windows of his mother’s house and shake her Hummel figurines — was probably the singular characteristic you’d recall after seeing him in person around Boothwyn. It was here, in this small borough off I-95, near the Delaware border, that he was, if not famous, then at least infamous, the quintessential slacker who still lived at home at 39 and was an early member of Howard Stern’s so-called “Wack Pack,” the group of self-lacerating jokesters, outcasts and deficients whose ranks he joined nearly 20 years ago after impressing Stern’s people by cutting off a chunk of his hair and eating it.
It was his hair, largely unchanged since high school, that he used as the essential prop to the headbanger/stoner/Spicoli character he would end up playing his entire adult life. Not only around town, but also in bit TV parts and appearances, such as a recent Stride Gum commercial, or the episode of Sex and the City in which Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, spending the night at a loser boyfriend’s shit-hole apartment, shrieks upon meeting his shirtless, rail-thin, milky-white, apparently stoned and mute roommate. Indeed, despite the fact that he’d recently cut his hair short — prior to an appearance he’d landed on The Tonight Show last year — it grew back furiously, like grass at the height of summer. So much so that on the day this past March that he encountered the girl on the sidewalk, she would specifically recall his shoulder-length hair in identifying him as the man who had just attempted to abduct her.
She told police she’d noticed him sometime after 1 p.m. on Monday, March 17th, when he first passed, beeping at her from the other side of busy Chichester Avenue. Though they’d apparently never met, the two lived near each other: Kallenbach just two turns away, in the same small but tidy house he’d grown up in; the girl, who was two months shy of 17, in a neighboring borough. With black-lined eyes, straight-ironed dirty-blond hair, and a silver piercing in one of her heavily plucked eyebrows, she wore all black, on a break from her job as a server at a nearby cafe. She’d waited at work a while for her mother, who was supposed to pick her up and take her to pay her cell phone bill. When her mom hadn’t materialized, the girl had begun walking.
As she was nearing the traffic signal in front of Wendy’s, she saw that the 2005 silver Toyota Corolla that had honked had apparently turned around, and was slowing for the red light. The driver wore sunglasses. His window was down. A large envelope addressed to The Jimmy Kimmel Show lay on the passenger seat. In a notorious Philadelphia accent, he called out:
It’s meay — Kenneyth Keayth!