The Clothes I Wear

The Clothes I Wear July 18, 2019

Editor’s Note: This Clergy Project member reminds us of how a mere change of clothes can change us in our own eyes and in the eyes of the people around us. It’s an experience most of us have had, clergy or not. /Linda LaScola, Editor


By David Mercer

In the past few years, I’ve gone from preacher to teacher to deli worker.  I know it shouldn’t matter, but I was embarrassed by how different I look in the mirror these days.

I went from this:

Preacher, Professor, Teacher (taken in my bathroom)

To this:

Deli Clerk

Do I think I’m better than the people with whom I work now? No, I do not.  And after I spent several exhausting hours my first evening at this new job, I was humbled because this deli gig is overwhelming.  My new workmates showed a great deal of patience as they trained me.

I was also fascinated with them.  The shift supervisor is former military.  Another fellow had been a food service professional for many years.  Yet another had been a personal chef for one of the uber-rich families of Florida. And another is a music teacher at one of the elementary schools.  He does this work for extra income. Oh, and he also performs in a band. Finally, there is the woman who is raising her grandchildren while working fulltime.

They’re smart and old enough to have wounds that make them interesting, and I enjoyed exchanging life stories with them.

They make the uniform look good.  I went from being embarrassed to hoping I’ll be worthy of it.

***Editor’s Request to Readers*** Tell us about an experience you’ve had, either dressed as clergy or as another kind of “service” person.


Bio: David Mercer, aka “Stan Bennett,” was the “Stan” who was featured in the CNN documentaryAtheists: Inside the World of Non-believers  and the Canadian documentary, Losing Our Religion.  David was a pastor for thirty-five years in Texas and Oklahoma until he quit and moved to Orlando, Florida, where he met and married his wife, Sylvia.  David is now fully out of the closet as an agnostic.  He is a life coach, a teacher, a storyteller and a deli worker. He is the author of the blog Deep Calls.  You can also find him on his Author Page on Facebook.  This post is reposted with permission.

>>>> All photos by Dave Mercer

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jim Jones

    Read Utopia for Realists, and find the part about the garbage strike vs. the bankers’ strike.

    The real essential jobs needing the hardest workers get the lowest pay and respect.

  • Illithid

    Yeah, foodservice is hard. I have some very capable people working with me.

  • Frаnk

    Probably because so many homosèxuals are involved. They’re constantly sick due to AIDS, plus they’re unreliable and fickle.

  • Illithid

    Frank says:

    Probably because so many homosèxuals are involved. They’re constantly sick due to AIDS, plus they’re unreliable and fickle.

    I reproduce it here in case he edits it. Flagged for targeted harassment.

  • Chris Hogue

    Grow up!

  • mason

    Nice slice of life from the everyday world of hard working food service Americans. Love the juxtaposition photos.

  • Keulan

    As someone who works in retail, I think you look fine in both photos. You do meet a lot of interesting people in these types of jobs, and I really think we’re not paid enough for the hard work we do.

  • Lisa Cybergirl

    Wow, I thought he was being sarcastic, but apparently not!

  • David in Tucson

    Flagged for targeted harassment as well, and blocked Frank.

  • Appreciated reading this, David. You give dignity–since you’re finding the dignity–in the “un-reverend” places and people. All the best.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    I thought I had blocked this bigoted troll ages ago… No idea how it popped up again. Oh well, flagged and blocked again.