As many people who have been around me know, I live in San Francisco. I pretty much won't shut up about the place. I am tolerated in San Francisco because most obsessive freaks are tolerated in San Francisco, even if their obsessions make no sense whatsoever. I have told you all about Emperor Norton, but I haven't told you about Oofty Goofty (who used to let you punch him for a quarter or hit him with a baseball bat for a dollar), or the King of Pain (who didn't do anything Oofty Goofty did, contrary to his name), or any other of the numerous weird homeless denizens of old time San Francisco. This acceptance continues on today, and you can see it on the streets with people getting more and more clever ideas to panhandle. The best ones don't even panhandle though -- the weird guy with the "NO UNLAWFUL SEX" sign at the Powell Cable Car turnaround is a good example of this.
And then there's Frank Chu.
Frank is a fairly normal looking Asian guy. He doesn't tuck his shirt in. He wear dark wraparound sunglasses (I think he's actually a Terminator). He wears a sport coat sometimes. He carries a sign.
When I first saw him about 6 or 7 years ago, his sign said:
IMPEACH CLINTON FOR
CRIMES AGAINST 12 GALAXIES
GUILTIED TO A
ZEGNATRONIC ROCKET SOCIETY
His sign is ever changing. His recent ones don't even have any sense to them. A recent photo of him and Prince Charles:
If you want to know more about him (and there's tons) all you have to do is read the Wikipedia entry on him.
At any rate, I have talked to this man before. He is mostly lucid, unless you ask him about Bill Clinton -- he really hates Clinton, because he stopped his payments (don't ask). I see him at least once or twice a week, walking through downtown. I always smile and wave and say "Hi Frank" to him.
Yesterday, I saw him at Lotta's Fountain. He was standing by the fountain holding his sign up at cars. I crossed the street and as I passed him, I said "Hi Frank!"
He took a look at me, broke into a big smile and said "Hi Darren!"
I nearly shit myself. He remembers my name. I think I've hit the bigtime now. I talked to him for about ten minutes, during which time he told me that he appreciated me always saying hi to him, and for the longest time was trying to remember my name. The last time I talked to him that long was about four years ago so color me impressed.
DUDE. I know Frank Chu.