Man looking at pill bottle in pharmacyMankind has made remarkable progress in every arena of human endeavor— except possibly getting Congress to do anything, getting women as hosts on late night tv and getting speedy service from the local pharmacy. Even in this Twenty-First Century, the time it takes to get a “fill” or refill of a script can take “from here to eternity.”

Recently, I trudged up to  the neighborhood apothecary for a prescription re-up. It’s toward the end of the work day, the place is crowded and I’m at the end of a long line of folks waiting to be served. (None of the folks waiting appears to be in a festive mood, by the way.)

I glance at the six digits  on my bottle’s label and for a few seconds and think “I hope  that serial number is not really the number of people ahead of me in line.” It wasn’t, of course, and even if I considered trying another pharmacy, the situation could very likely be the same. Or worse.

The pharmacy is located in a far right corner of one of those bigger box, national grocery chain stores that surely considers itself an alternative to  Amazon.com. The store is newly opened and they sell EVERYTHING— from groceries to drugs to stump removal equiment. In order to sell all that stuff, the store is as big as an ocean harbor, so big you could park an aircraft carrier inside. So big, you almost need to leave a trail of bread crumbs behind so that you can find your way back to the store’s entrance/exit. (As you might  expect, the store sells bread crumbs, too.) Signage abounds. In the Pharmacy, underneath  “Rx Drop-Off”  is a neatly lettered sign that requests NO CELL PHONES.

It looks like it’s going to be an ordeal, so I do what I always do when I have an unexpected wait. I eavesdrop on the other folks satnding in line. Just listening to a few folks while they wait gives me a clue as to why the pharmacy staff has added a hastily hand written note  taped to the big “Rx Pick-Up” sign that begs NO CUSSIN’ PLEASE.

Patients wait in line to pick up prescriptions


On Sticker Shock

“Good grief,” the older woman says upon being told by the pharmacist the amount of her newly prescribed medicine,  “there must be some mistake! You’ve priced my new medicine like it was fuckin’ m-m-m -meat. Or b-b-batteries. Or maybe razor b-b-blades.”

“It’s a good thing young folks, who want to have children don’t generally have to take this Viagra,” says a man appearing to be in his early eighties. “Judging from the cost of the stuff, the people who make it don’t want folks to have any fun at all. Or even want the human race to continue. The high price of these blue pills is as good as birth control.”

On Timing

“I wouldn’t get my hopes up for a fast turnaround if I was you, fella. The only reason that pharmacist-tech asked for your DOB in the first place is so they can hope to have your prescription ready by the time your birthday rolls around.”

On Special Effects

“Good heavens,” says a middle-age man, reading the list of side effects of his doctor’s new Rx. “Diarrhea, anal leakage, dizziness, blurred vision, heart palpitations and dry mouth. If the disease don’t kill me, the side-effects damn sure will.”


“These possible side-effects of the prescription are worse th-th-th-than the original symptoms that sent me to the hospital in the first place. Probably just a way for the charlatans at the goddamn drug company to also market the antidote for the side-effects.”


“Hmmn. Seems like these side-effects are the same as those for rattlesnake bite.”

On Secret Weapon ‘Rx’

“When I think about it, mankind needs a better way of waging war. You know, wage war without really killing folks. Prescription side-effects might be the answer. You know, just dump some of that stuff whose side-effects are diarrhea, anal leakage, dizziness, blurred vision and stomach pain in the enemy’s water supply. It’s hard to fight a war when all the soldiers are sittin’ on the crapper with cramps… and a bad case of the shits.”

On Namin’ Names

“Dulera… Xarelto… Xanax….Zoloft… Levemir. I think the guy who comes up with the names for new prescription drugs is the same mofo who comes up with names of New Age rock bands”


By the time my number is finally called and I’ve got my refill in hand, my wallet is noticeably  lighter. But I’ve learned a few things from the folks waiting in the Rx line. Mainly I’ve learned to call ahead for the next refill. And that maybe it might be cheaper and easier to resort to witchcraft to cure  whatever it is that ails me next.

I’ve also learned that next time I come here to definitely buy the bread crumbs since I am now almost hopelessly lost inside the new store..

Images: Man looking at pill bottle in pharmacy licensed by LikeTheDew.com – copyright: racorn / 123RF Stock Photo; Prescription Line by Brandy Gill, CRDAMC Public Affairs via Fort Hood Press Center (public domain);
Will Cantrell

Will Cantrell

Will Cantrell (a pseudonym) is a writer, storyteller, and explorer of the milieu of everyday life. An aging Baby Boomer, a Georgia Tech grad, and a retired banker, Cantrell regularly chronicles what he swears are 'mostly true'  'everyman' adventures. Of late, he's written about haircuts, computer viruses, Polar Vortexes, identity theft, ketchup, doppelgangers, bifocals, ‘Streetification’, cursive handwriting, planning his own funeral and other gnarly things that caused him to scratch his head in an increasingly more and more crazy-ass world.   As for Will himself, the legend is at an early age he wandered South, got lost, and like most other self-respecting males, was loathe to ask for directions. The best solution, young Will mused, “was just to stay put”. All these years later, he still hasn't found his way but remains  a son of the New South. He was recently sighted somewhere close to I-285, lost, bumfuzzled and mumbling something about “...writing' his way home.” Of course, there are a lot of folks who think that “Cantrell ain't wrapped too tight” but hope that he keeps writing about his adventures as he finds his way back to the main highway.