Reverend Claude

In college I worked in a coffee shop downtown.  We had your usual business types and politicians (a-holes), then we had your bike cops (nice but racist as fuck) and finally we had the homeless population.  We didn’t get  lot of them, just a few regulars who scraped up enough change for coffee so they could use the bathroom to wash up.  One of those regulars was Claude.  He liked to go by “Reverend Claude” and he would do a little shuffle for you if you asked him to dance.  He was mentally disturbed and living in a state facility downtown.

One afternoon he had come in and was intent on getting me to kiss his ring.  “It’s the sacred heart, kiss it, kiss it”.  I said no but he was being very persistent.  Finally I told him the the customer at the bar was my boyfriend and he wouldn’t like it if I kissed another man.  He decided he needed to meet my man (a guy I’d never seen before) so they had a quick conversation.  The young stranger played along and Claude left, appeased.  Embarrassed, I thanked the man who said he was happy to do it.

We used to give Claude bus money from our tip jar but eventually the boss caught on and told us not to encourage Claude to come in.  Eventually he was banned from entering unless he could purchase something.


About Just Vegas

I'm a 30-something married SAHM which means the nightmare scenario that plagued my early 20's has become reality. Funny thing is, I kinda like it. I have 3 lovely daughters who are educated at home and at a part-time alternative school. I love animals and I love people (in the general sense, not everybody all the time). I have no income to speak of, I'm not crafty and I hate cooking. My skills include reading the internet, watching tv on the internet and conversing with people on the internet. I'm an armchair philosopher, spiritualist, agnostic, feminist, liberal, activist, political pundit and tv critic.
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7 Responses to Reverend Claude

  1. Marie Green says:

    Man, I am so encouraged to hear of other women who are in the same boat as I am re: more children. Thank you so much for your kind words on my blog. We need to band together for support!

  2. GiGi says:

    Hmmm…thanks for sharing this, Vegas. It brings to mind 4 of the 7 UU principles: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
    Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
    The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
    Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part

    and how challenging it can be to live them sometimes.

    I hope Rev. Claude is living in peace.

  3. AmyG says:

    There is dignity within everyone and we should all be treated with respect.
    I am interested in why you felt that the “Bike Cops” were “racist.” How well do you know these men/women? Being a person of color and coming from a family background that had been involved with real racism, I am always curious when we use the term racist to describe another person.
    My sister in law is a police officer who I would describe as tolerant to all people, however, dealing with the hardcore criminals exposes one to certain behaviors by persons who know how to manipulate the system and the term racist. There is not a racist bone in her tiny body, yet she has been accused of racism by those who cannot take responsibility for their actions.

    • vegas710 says:

      These officers worked on bicycles downtown. Even the nicer ones admitted that it got hard after arresting black people day after day. The uglier of them once teased a group of black kids looking through the window, “Want a peanut, monkeys?” They had a joke between themselves that if a black man was running, there was a crime committed somewhere.
      I don’t use the term lightly but I know racism when I see it.

  4. Mario Saccoccio says:

    A friend was in San Francisco when President Ford was involved in an attempted assassination. He was right near the shooting scene. When he heard the shot fired, he turned and ran as fast as he could. He was tackled a few seconds later by Secret Service agents. When asked why he was running, he answered, “because I cannot fly!” They let him go…

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