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Friday, May 25, 2007

The Ballad of the Chrome Sheriff

posted by on May 25 at 9:57 AM

In this week’s Last Days, I report this sighting by Hot Tipper Todd:

“I was in Home Depot to get a key made. As I’m looking around for an employee, I spot a somewhat-homeless-looking man wearing a mask. This mask was made entirely of duct tape. It had holes for his eyes and mouth (picture Dr. Doom) and a clear safety shield, which was in the upright position. This guy walks up to an employee and asks, ‘What aisle is the duct tape on?’ Oh my freaking god, am I dreaming this? Apparently not, because that same employee ended up making my key for me, and he wouldn’t shut up about the duct-tape guy. Since then, I’ve shared this story with friends and coworkers, and I’ve heard of many sightings. Does anyone know what this guy’s story is? I gotta know.”

At the end of the item, I urged readers to share any info they had on the man known alternately as the Beekeeper, the Chrome Sheriff, and the Duct-Tape Guy.

Responses have been coming in steadily, from history briefs (“From 1998-2000, he wore a sandwich board with Spanish writing on it and road-race bibs like the kind marathon runners wear”) to notes of commiseration (“Thanks for letting me know I haven’t been hallucinating this guy”) to this seemingly legitmate input from Hot Tipper Mark:

I don’t know the particular case, but it is very common for schizophrenic patients (who make up a large number of homeless types) to create masks and headgear of that sort (most frequently out of tin foil). It has to do with the symptoms—they lose “ego boundaries,” and thus believe that voices control them (ie Son of Sam) and that everyone can read their thoughts, thus, they create magical head protective devices to keep the alien intruders out and their thoughts contained within. The more funding for mental health (and all other health) gets shunted away to other people’s delusions about Iraq, the more we’ll see dumping of schizophrenics to the streets and away from proper care (you probably know that the current administration has set back cancer and other research formidably, as part of their Marcos-ization of the country).
Thanks to all who’ve shared so far. Others, write

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All of Mark's comments are true, but another part of the illness' nature is that their paranoia also contributes greatly to their refusing treatment. Funding and resources are gigantic issues (which our governor has recently taken steps to address) - but even if treatment facilities were rolling in green, there would still be plenty of faux helmet wearing folks to keep us all wondering.

Posted by true but | May 25, 2007 10:33 AM

I see the Chrome Sheriff all the time in U Dist. thrift stores and at WesterenCo/Lys Donuts. He buys old microwave ovens at the thrift store and he is building something out of them with a soldering gun at the Donut Shop late at night. I was in there and asked him how the Time Machine was coming along, and he got quite angry and packed up all his soldering and odd bits of FM radios and microwaves.

Posted by don_tripontode | May 25, 2007 10:47 AM

i've seen this guy walking around. most recently i was riding the bus and he crossed in front of us at a stop light. would seriously like to know the story with this guy.

Posted by maria | May 25, 2007 11:32 AM

We used to call this dude "Rambo" back in the 80s. He used to work out at the Rainier Beach Pool and run around Seward Park. He was really buff and used to wear a hard hat, wristbands. Schizo or not, he's a Seattle classic.

Posted by meks | May 25, 2007 12:10 PM

The Chrome Sheriff used to keep his car parked around the corner from the Blue Moon. Some early-80's white hatchback with one of the back windows missing, covered with a sad patch of plastic. Last time I saw him that I can remember, he was pushing a shopping cart through the Metro Theater parking lot back towards his car. He had three suitcases in it. For some reason, I was compelled to see what kind of shoes he wore when he walked by. They were brown, and not as beat up as I thought they'd be.

Posted by Jason Josephes | May 25, 2007 12:34 PM

the CS still has that car. He uses it to pick up the microwave ovens form the thrift store in back in the alley by Cafe Allegro. I saw him with it only last week.

Posted by don tripontode | May 25, 2007 12:42 PM

Hot Tipper Mark should be accorded kudos for the phrase "Marcos-ization of the country." I shall immediately appropriate that.

Posted by Geni | May 25, 2007 2:01 PM

Another thing to thank dear old Reagan for.

Posted by Victoria | May 25, 2007 2:13 PM

Another chime in about duct-tape guy/chrome sheriff; he has been spotted at the Wallingford QFC microwaving his duct tape. Does it make it more adhesive that way?
As much as we're all kind of amused by this, Mark gave me a sober reminder. There is not enough funding for the mentally ill which is why we see so much of this.

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