Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pharmacist Amnesia

I'm at the pharmacy. I've spent a lot of time here over the years. I'm not only on the auto refill program but normally when I get up to the counter the pharmacy tech needs a hand truck to get my prescriptions from behind the counter to me.

But there's one thing always interesting about me and my pharmacy experience:  they never know who I am.  Everyday is a new day of pharmacy clerk amnesia.

I could stop by there every day of the week - and I'm not exaggerating - to pick up medicine and each time I am asked for my name. Then I'm asked to spell my name. Since I apparently have a lisp of some type - a surprise to me - I am asked over and over again to repeat the letters S and F that may be in my name or address. There are five.

This is all done by Nice Clerk. Nemesis Clerk handles the customers before me with a friendliness that makes me get a little enthused about getting up to the counter. I'm ready to banter! I'm ready to commiserate! I'm pretty much ready to bark like a dog and roll over, anything to keep Nemesis Clerk happy.  But when I get up there, his demeanor has changed. He looks at me with dull eyes, a flat mouth. "Spell your name," he says. Then, "Is that S as in Susan or F as in Frank?"

It's like Communist Russia here in the tundra of the pharmacy counter. There's no arguing with Nemesis Clerk. He's got a mean streak and I know which side of the counter I'm standing on. He's on the side with my medicine.

When I was a kid in Skokie, we had an excellent relationship with the mom and pop pharmacy near our house.  If anyone in our family experimented with shoplifting, the eagle eyes of the owner's wife would spot us doing it, make a note of the item stolen, and quickly add the item onto our mother's charge account.  My mother, oblivious, paid and was probably happy no police were involved.  We grew up in the aisles, moving from chocolate bars to Kotex pads to cigarettes as we got older.

Once I got asthma, if I ran out of medicine, the pharmacist would spot me a few pills till I could get a new prescription instead of letting me die.  That was nice.  Especially because my mother wasn't so good at this whole thing - like figuring out when I was going to run out of medicine and stop breathing.  This was a good arrangement.  So much easier than arranging my funeral, that is.

This pharmacy?  I've gone here over twenty years.  They have no idea who I am.  I spell my name, lisping through the letters.  Nemesis Pharmacy Tech heaves over my package.  I leave clutching my medication.

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