Magazine article Drug Topics

Unwinding through the Years

Magazine article Drug Topics

Unwinding through the Years

Article excerpt

When the pressure builds up and the boiler is about to blow after a red hot day at the drugstore, what do you do to release the steam? Me? I play bongo drums. While my pharmacy skills have been learned over 30 years, my bongo skills are brand new. After a half-hour of creative percussion, I sleep like it is the lOth day of a three-week vacation.

There was a time, years ago, when I squeezed out the tension and frustration of a long, tough day at the pharmacy with Scotch whisky. Too much, I think, but that was the midsixties and, in the pharmacy community, you were looked on as socially compromised if you didn't drink a bit. We barbecued, smoked tobacco, and drank alcohol until our teeth were numb. I wore a short Ivy League haircut, jacket and tie, and we R.Ph.s talked shop on the lawn. Our wives stayed away from us.

Those were the days before locked-up pharmacies and differential hours. No pharmacist. The front doors stayed locked. I worked for a chain in California and put in two 13hour days a week. In 1965, at the end of one of those brutal days, I'd watch Johnny Carson and sip whisky to unwind. It wasn't a good idea, but I did it. I came to think long hours were normal, like a dog that is kicked every day expects to be booted regularly.

Last winter, a new R.Ph. gave me a 20-something, wolflike stare after listening to my reminiscing. "You actually put up with hours like that?"

My smile was grim. "it was a different time, a different attitude and ... for sure ... a different profession then." I felt like the wimp bugs were crawling all over me when I realized that I was acting as an apologist for an intolerable situation.

Then he said, "No way ... ever!" He wasn't smiling.

A few years later, my hair much longer and sporting long sideburns, I said things like Cool, man! and Right on! I stopped eating 14-ounce steaks in favor of salads and Asian food. …

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