Aug 042016 0 Responses

How Do You Say ‘The Clap’ in Spanish?

Today I explained to a church member that she hadn’t given her child an STD and that wasn’t the strangest part of my day.

The pastorate has one major rule–never be surprised. It happens early in ministry. Your experience is limited and things happen which you could never expect. However, after a few years in the pastorate your shock-value is greatly depleted. I’ve often said, “Nothing can shock me.”

Over the past fifteen years, I’ve discovered people growing pot behind the church, watched someone sign “You have the devil in your heart” to a church staff member, and had a church member taste-test a cremated dog thinking it might be cocaine. Nothing shocks me.

But on occasion I’m still left speechless.

Sara visited my office with a concern. She was afraid Lisa, someone I had put her in contact with, was possibly an unfit mother. What made it worse, Lisa had multiple foster children over a year. Being a mandatory reporter, I prepared to make a call to the hotline.

I know Lisa. No one would think she was an unfit mother, but nothing shocks me. So while I was confused, I wasn’t dumbfounded…until Sara told me the story.

A few weeks earlier, I had put the two in contact. Lisa was hosting a child for a few days who did not speak English. She wanted to learn a few Spanish phrases to comfort the child. Sara is a Spanish teacher so it seemed like a great fit. Sara agreed to help so I gave her Lisa’s number. She texted Lisa, but didn’t hear back. She assumed Lisa got help from another source and everything was great.

Two weeks later, Sara decided to check in on Lisa to see if she needed any help.

Sara sent a simple text:

Hey, it’s Sara, Kevin’s friend, just checking to see if you needed anything and how the Hispanic child is fairing.

She received this response:

We started training on the lettuce in our garden. I think we will be able to have them earning $2/hr shortly. How often should I be feeding them? I’ve been doing it every other day, but they are crying a lot. Tell Kevin hi.

Sara was confused and followed up. To which she got this response:

All is well for the most part. I think our little one may have the clap. I won’t go into specifics, but we had some company over and one thing led to another, and well…let’s just say the baby was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mortified, Sara didn’t know how to respond. Before she could, another text message came.

Any idea if the treatment for them is the same as it is for me? If something happens, will they let me get another one?

Deeply troubled, Sara wanted to make sure she had texted the right person so she explains the whole situation to which the person replied:

Oh wait, I’m so sorry….please disregard my previous text. I got Rosetta Stone and am teaching myself Spanish.

Immediately, Sara came to see me. Should we call DHS? Do we call the hotline? Should we call 911?

I had no idea. Nothing in the text messages sounded like Lisa, but I’m a pastor–I know everyone has secrets. Now it was my job to investigate. I looked on Facebook and found Lisa has an odd fascination with joking about owning goats. I called a counselor who said she had no concerns with Lisa. So I called her. She had no memory of a texting conversation. She looked on her phone and couldn’t find the discussion. Finally I sent her the messages and a key fact was noticed–it wasn’t her number.

Sara had never texted the foster-mom. She had texted the wrong person and that person had made up everything including texting a stock photo of a little Hispanic girl who had a mustache. Lisa thought it was hysterical and commented, “Maybe we’ve given one of our children the clap, I don’t even know what that is. Crazy things happen around here.” (See: Silas on the Sybil War, Col. Sanders, and Peeing Crooked)

“I wouldn’t say that to many people,” I told her. “The clap is a slang term for an STD.”

Of course this raised a fair question for Lisa, “How does my pastor know about gonorrhea?” The answer is simple–Seinfeld. Remember the episode entitled The Burning?

  • “You got gonorrhea and you call that the tractor story?”
  • “I’m gonna make people feel my gonorrhea and feel the gonorrhea inside themselves.”
  • “Well, Mickey gave me gonorrhea.”
  • “Me, a customer, and she, a coquettesh haberdasher”

Finally, all those seminary late nights (watching Seinfeld) paid off.

A few summary lessons:

If you’re texting someone, always double check the number.

Know that if someone accuses you of something to your pastor, he might believe it and he won’t be shocked.

If you don’t know what a specific disease is, don’t assume you might have given it to a child in your care.

And if you are wondering how to say “the clap” in Spanish, it’s la gonorrhea.

Happy Friday.


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