Welcome to Shaw Pharmacy. What can I help with?
I’m picking up a prescription.
What is the name?”
“Meyer, Elisabeth.”
” There are two prescriptions ready for Elisabeth Meyer. Verify the address or date of birth.”
May 11, 1955.” *

That is how the previously posted conversation should’ve transpired.  But, (heavy sigh), it didn’t.  Sadly, none do.  If every interaction went that well, I would truly have nothing to rant about.  Actually, I would, but that’s not the point.  The point is that even the simplest task is complicated when too much information is provided – especially when said information is neither warranted nor welcomed.

The whole thing makes me fucking crazy.  People, mostly woman, talk way too much. Once again, that whole address question … . I don’t care that you have three houses, bitch.  Just answer the question and shut the fuck up.  When I check out customers, I always opt to verify the date of birth – it never changes and can never be disputed.  Hmm … .  Let’s just leave it with – it never changes, okay?

The concept of providing too much information is older than … me.  Remember that old saying about not asking a certain person the time because ‘she will tell you how the watch is made‘.  Yeah, … . Much to my, and every other customer service associates, dismay, the situation has gotten totally out of control.  You would think with the advances in technology this issue wouldn’t be an issue.  But it is.  Look at texting. The goal is to be as brief and to the point as possible. Why can’t that be adhered to in conversation?

I don’t know. Maybe people are just overcompensating.  Thankfully, I don’t.  After fifty-two years, my ramblings have decreased significantly.  I still rant random nonsense.  But, the information I provide is never … too much.


* , bitch wasn’t necessary. Hell, I don’t even think the ‘adjective’ crossed my mind.  Well, that’s not true.  They’re all bitches.

simple questions – wrong answers

Welcome to Shaw Pharmacy. What can I help with?

“I just flew in from Florida … .”

“Were you dropping off or picking up a prescription?

“Well, it’s complicated.  The prescription was originally filled in Florida, but I requested it to be filled here.  I just landed in Traverse.  My flight was … .”

“So, you’re picking up a prescription.  What is the last name?”

“Elisabeth Meyer. Elisabeth spelled with an -s not a -z. I was named after my great-grandmother.  But I go by Beth.  My really close friends call me Liza.”

“There are two prescriptions ready for Elisabeth Meyer.”

“Is it spelled with that -s? Someone tried to change it once and I got really upset.  My granny… .”

“Verify the address or date of birth.”

“Well, what address do you have?  I have three houses you know.  One here, one in Boston and I just flew … .”

“Then, verify the date of birth.

“Silly, that’s embarrassing.  You never ask a woman her age.”

“Well, you know, the address question seemed so complicated and identity needs to be verified.  Fortunately, your date of birth n-e-v-e-r changes.”*

“Hmp.  May 11, 1955.”


*insert:  , bitch.  Silently, of course.

Frisbee + golf = frolf

Disc golf is played much like traditional golf. Instead of a ball and clubs,  players use a flying disc (Frisbee®). The sport was formalized in the 1970′s.  The first known instance of anyone playing golf with a flying disc occurred in Bladworth, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1926.  The object is completing each hole in the fewest throws.  A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to a target which is the “hole”  - the most common is an elevated metal basket called a Pole Hole®.  In 1975, Dan “Stork” Roddick  invented the Disc Pole Hole. Then one year later, he created the DGA. He installed nearly 800 disc golf courses in 20 countries.

Disc golf provides upper and lower body conditioning, aerobic exercise, and promotes a combination of physical and mental abilities that allow very little risk of physical injury. Concentration skills increase by mastering shots and negotiating obstacles.  It is designed to be enjoyed by people of all ages, male and female, regardless of economic status.  A professional quality disc costs less than $15, and it only takes one for basic play.

disc golf 101

 Unfortunately, frolfing has acquired some, how should I put this, negative stereotyping over the years as well.  The following of the sport has gravitated to the ‘hippie’ and/or ‘hick’ sect of the population.  And, from what understand, these individuals partake in other recreational activities while frolfing. Translation – they smoke a lot of weed, okay.  The reason I bring this up is because … my son does throw the occasional Frisbee now and then.   BUT, he usually does so BEFORE work.  So, … I’m thinking, hoping, and any other positive action word with an -ing ending that he makes good decisions. Recreational activities of the twenty something crowd have kept generations of parents and office managers saying the words – “Damn kids”.

“I live to frolf”

Anyway, let’s focus on the positives.  He is getting outside and exercising.  He’s with friends.  Granted some of those friends may NOT  be as skilled an athlete as my son. Pause – dramatic sigh.  Hell, who am I fooling?  I went to college and I’m not that delusional.  Side note: do NOT check the Urban Dictionary for the definition of the word frolf.

Be this all as it may, throwing a Frisbee is a fun summer activity.  I’ve been told I should engage in such activities.  I’ve also been told that I should be an empathetic customer orientated employee who’s end goal is the excellence in service.

That really doesn’t work for me.

Let’s frolf!

July 05, 2012

Adam Thomas thought he led a charmed life. Happily married with an adorable set of twins he was a member of the most trusted profession in the country. Yes, retail pharmacy had its shortcomings, but Adam handled adversity gracefully. Even though he knew ‘the customer wasn’t always right’, Adam didn’t allow the volatility of such work hazards to permeate his rational thinking and sound judgment. One day, however, everything changes. His once charmed life is turned upside down.

So begins the calamity Adam Thomas endures.

My Life As A Retail Pharmacist – A Fictionalized Memoir follows Adam as he navigates the struggles of standing up for what he believes. Tanya Stenke-Branch blatantly eavesdrops on Adam’s transaction with customer Milton R. Green. She dislikes Adam’s solution to Green’s insurance issue that arises and takes it upon herself to intervene. Adam is vocally upset with the unwelcome advice. But, according to ‘this wife of a prominent surgeon’, Tanya’s interference is in Mr. Green’s best interests. A reasonable everyday situation that Adam has handled numerous times in the past mutates into an unsalvageable disaster. Adam is ultimately terminated from Shaw Drug for his unprofessional behavior and his life begins to spiral out of control. What happens challenges Adam to question everything he once knew. When Tanya gossips to her friends at the local café about the incident, she discloses pertinent, yet confidential information, intentionally violating numerous HIPAA regulations. Fortunately for Adam, Paul Davis, Attorney at Law, just happens to overhear. Adam’s case for retribution has considerable merit.

As the lawsuit begins, the messy repercussions from such sensationalist trash that is so abundant in today’s world surface. Adam’s grasp on his charmed life continues to slip. The legal proceeding strains his familial interactions. His wife, Val, tries desperately to maintain balance, but Tanya and her lawyers just don’t play fair. Could such a random chance encounter ruin Adam’s professional and personal existence?

My Life As A Retail Pharmacist – A Fictionalized Memoir is current and hip and different. A cathartic read for anyone who has ever worked retail.

July 05,2012  my book went live on Kindle.   Five years. That’s crazy.  But good.  Be even better if people actually read it.  Yeah, things didn’t go exactly as …projected with book sales.  Translation: I’m still working that damn day job. Fiction is so hard to sell.  Everybody has a story. Now, it’s easier than ever to get that story published.

I’m quite proud of what I’ve accomplished, though.  I truly believe my time will come.  A random click or prestigious bookshelf placement might help that cause.  My ‘shit’ will go viral and My Life ... .  Well, that my friends, will be the ultimate - Memo … ry.

Until that time, I will continue to blog.  And, I hope you continue to read.  Thank you!

my blog bookshelf

Well, it’s officially summer.  However, I started my ‘beach’ reading a few month back.  My daughter recommends the majority of the books I read.  She knows what I would like and primarily, what I would tolerate in a story.  CAUTION: she has specific criteria for loaning a book.  In fact, I’m not allowed to borrow her hard covers. She insists I manhandle books, dog earring pages and creasing spines – even if it is ever so slightly.  Gasp! Yes, I’ve even spilled  a few drops of coffee on a page … or two. Bigger gasp!  That’s how I roll, man.  In this case, that’s how I read.  Anyway, I respect her nuances.  She cares for her books, enjoying everything about the reading process.  What more could an author father want?

Geekerella   by Ashley Poston

A retelling of the classic Cinderella story right down to a food truck named the Magic Pumpkin.  Geekerella is a modern day version where the characters are enthralled in the magic of  fandom. Elle is a second generation geek who grew up watching Starfield, the classic sci-fi series, with her late father.  When Darien Freeman, a teen super-star who is really a closet fandom geek himself,  gets cast as the male lead in the blockbuster movie, fandom, led by none other than blogger Elle, is in an uproar.  As fairy tale luck would have it, the two accidentally connect via texting.  Their relationship flourishes as does the pratfalls that complicate both their lives.

My daughter definitely liked this story more than myself.  But, it was fun and enjoyable.

Murder on the Orient Express   by Agatha Christie

This was a collaborative want-to-read.  Entertainment Weekly showcased a ‘first look’ at the movie of the same name opening in November.  My daughter read the book first, as always.  Since it was available in paperback, and the library version was checked out, she allowed me to read the copy I purchased for her.  Yes, I totally manhandled it, okay?  Unintentionally, of course.  I often fall asleep when reading.  The book drops out of my hand, I drool … .  It ain’t pretty.

Express is a classic read still able to hold it’s own in today’s tech savvy world.  The best part, we now have a father daughter date for the movie come November.

 Camino Island   by John Grisham

This choice was all me.  Contrary to popular belief, I AM capable of such decisions.  I haven’t read a Grisham book in a while. The story lines he has chosen for his last several novels weren’t of interest to me.  Don’t get me wrong, this dude can write a great tale.  But, … wasn’t feelin’ the last few books. I’m certain this read won’t disappoint me though. A priceless book is stolen from the Princeton library vault.   The insurance company, government, AND whomever else want it found before it is sold on the black market underground and never seen again.  There’s probably a love story weaved in there somewhere.  Since he IS Grisham and NOT Nicholas Sparks, I can totally deal.

Well, that’s it for the recap on my summer bookings.   The only other thing that would make my summer complete is My Life on a few Kindle bookshelves as well.

Keep cool and read on!

cycling idiots

Traverse City encourages bicycle riding. Oryana, a local co-op grocery store, gives a discount to patrons who walk or ride their bike to the establishment.  The surrounding counties offer countless roads that continue for miles, inviting even the most novice cyclist. In both cases, these enthusiasts are conscious riders who know what they are doing – OBEYING the Rules and SHARING the Road.

Unfortunately, this post is NOT dedicated to them. Instead, I direct my words to the casual assholes that neglect every law, swerving between   cars and trucks that could easily make them roadkill.  What’s worse – they don’t care.  Moreover, these cydiots* are not the ‘goodwill ambassadors’ avid cyclists encourage.  Oh, don’t even get me started on those fudge fucked tourists that rent bikes at their hotel.


Rather than continuing on a tyrannical rant, I decided to offer guidance to these ‘compromised’ individuals.  I realize it’s probably pointless.  These morons can’t even read traffic signals.  So, a post about cycling ‘Do’s and Don’ts‘ is mute.  But I promise it will be fun.  At their expense, of course.

Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Ride with traffic; use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going.  Bicyclists can be held liable in traffic mishaps.  The long arm of the law will clothesline these cydiot fuck ups.  Justice prevails.

Make intentions clear to everyone on the road. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars. Signal turns, and check behind you well before turning or changing lanes.  Here in the primary reason there is rage against cyclists.

Ride where people can see you and wear bright clothing. Use a front white light, red rear light and reflectors when visibility is poor. Make eye contact with others and don’t ride on sidewalks.  Normally, I avoid eye contact.  It’s a work hazard.  Once eye contact is established, you’re committed.  For me, that’s never a good thing. 

Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians, and other people on bikes will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Look out for debris, potholes, and other road hazards. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.  You have to have AND use a brain to ‘think ahead’.  The majority of these riders lack both. 

Check your tires, brakes, chain, and that quick release levers are closed. Carry tools and supplies that are appropriate for your ride. Wear a helmet.  A helmet is also necessary in road side altercations as well.  Sucks for them – I aim for the balls.  Hell, those things are probably numb anyway. 

I have never been a big bike rider.  Those seats really don’t work for me.  It’s a good thing, though.  I’m an angry driver.  Could you imagine what kind of cyclist I’d be?  Hmm … .  Scary.  Furthermore, My Life is so loved in the Retail Pharmacy community, a ‘rage’ fueled altercation  against me would never occur. (sarcasm intended)

wanna ‘race’?

*cydiots – cycling idiots


the pre-pee

Six months back, I introduced my blog to Mead and decided to highlight other beverages throughout the year.  Traverse City and the surrounding area love to ferment, brew, and stomp on anything and everything they can to produce spirited libations to make people ‘hoppy’.  Then I realized the vast amount of information and varieties of beer and wine.  Mead was easy to present.  Beer and wine – not so much.

Because I am a pretty basic dude, I wanted to showcase beer in a similar fashion.  Otherwise, anyone who read this post would be reaching for a cold brewski just to get through it.  That is not my intention.  So, here is beer, presented in simplistic glory.

the big  pitcher

All beers are either lagers or ales, and that’s determined by the type of yeast used during the fermentation process. Lagers are made with yeast that ferments at the bottom of the beer mixture (Saccharomyces uvarum), and ales are made with yeast that ferments at the top (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). There are also spontaneously fermenting yeasts, which make wild or sour ales.

Once you’ve figured out if your beer is a lager or an ale, there is further differentiation determined by the flavor, color, and aroma of the beer. These determine what style family a given beer falls into. Within that style family, there are varieties, which have even more distinct characteristics.

It all began in the Middle Ages when Bavarian brewers discovered that their beer continued to ferment while being stored in cold ice-caves during the winter. The result was a greatly improved, very smooth, mellow tasting brew. They would brew in late fall and store the beer, covered with ice harvested from nearby lakes and rivers, until early spring. They called it lager beer because of the long storage period. After a few wars and prohibitions, lite beer, dry beer and ice beer became popular due to the decreased alcohol content.  The lager beer revolution had reached its ultimate end-point.  Beer drinkers were NOT hoppy enough.  Ale was revisited and microbreweries found just what beer drinkers needed: beer with flavor and character. They  had come a full circle.

the draft difference 

  • both are fermented from grain
  • cerevisiae is the most common type of yeast that has been around since Babylonian time
  • main difference is the temperature of the fermentation – chemical reactions happen more slowly at lower temps which slowed the fermentation process yielding ‘aged’ product
  • ale – greater tolerance to alcohol = stronger beer; hoppy and heavy
  • lager – ability to ferment sugar melibose = more sugar remnant; lighter, crisp flavor

my final call

I AM a lager dude –  Stella Artois to be exact.  Stella was my grandmother’s name, so it kinda stuck.  And,  Stella is light and refreshing, so that kinda stuck, too. I’m really not a beer drinker, though. Thus another reason I hesitated with this post.  Once the information is broken down to the basics, it’s not that overwhelming.  Now the only real question is where the hell did CollegeHumor come up with some of those beer slang words. Pre-pee? Guttorade?

I decided to close this post by raising my glass with  Cheers  to a famous beer lover.


bottoms up!

creature comfort concerns

Originally, I was going to incorporate this ‘thought’ into the previous musing.  Then realized it was too cumbersome of an idea.  It deserved its own post.  Besides, the underlining tone would’ve totally offset the humor of my ‘hoody moment.  For this read is about everyone else in the neighborhood who’s NOT having an exchange student leaving sale.  You know, those neighbors who truly do have the manicured lawns with every creature comfort the Joneses own.  And, one more, of course. 

The song Pleasant Valley Sunday came to mind the other day. Unfortunately, the damn tune just wouldn’t go away.  Carole King wrote the music and the version of which  I am familiar.  The Monkees made it famous.  The song is a salute, so to speak, to suburbia.  And, the illusion of what that living is ‘about’ in all of its misconstrued satirical grandeur. Some people really need the assurance that every Sunday will be … pleasant.  And, the answer to inquiries about personal business  is a cliched salutation of well being.

The facade that everything in a perfectly manicured lawn is perfect isn’t necessarily the case.  If it is, good for them.  More often than not, imperfections are hidden in various closets around the house. Go to the local pharmacy and see who’s walking out with an arsenal of prescription medications. Then we’ll really have something to talk about, eh? I’m not saying my neighbor with the stove is perfect by any means. Let’s not even go there.  But, he … tries.  Even if those efforts are a bit misguided.

A few posts back I promised that everything would be hoppy. And it will be – very soon.  I got distracted.  A stove appeared in front of my neighbor’s garage…. .  What is a blogger to do? Quality material is sometimes hard to come by.  A stove covered in an ugly as fuck brown tarp AND Carole King are inspirational to random nonsensical writers like myself.

Since this illusion is way bigger than I could ever address in a single post.  I created my MasterCard moment. Poking fun at that fucking Jeep is so much more fun than psychoanalyzing the functionality of suburbia.  Nowadays, there is no ‘normal’. And those Joneses have no fucking clue what they are doing.  Hell, they probably have more debt than I do.  Hmm... , probably not.

Well, I’m unsure whether this rambling was philosophical or just phil o shit.  Regardless, I’m done.  I need to …  cut the grass.

Creature comforts can be … pleasant?

MasterCard moment – only in this ‘hood

number of days a stove has been IN FRONT of my neighbor’s garage:    23

number of jacks used to support a Jeep Wrangler  waiting for a ‘break job’  on a different driveway:    3

number of ‘exchange student leaving’  sales:    1

being thankful that I am NOT part of our neighborhood watch:    priceless

Neighborhood Watch trailer

Let me qualify something before I continue.  My neighborhood is NOT that trashy.  Actually, it’s quite the opposite.  The location is ideal. Numerous schools are within walking distance and it’s relatively close to town.  The home values continue to rise at a healthy rate. But, then again,  every neighborhood has its …. moments.

Now about that stove / range oven, … .

Well, it’s white AND covered in an ugly as fuck brown tarp.  The reason it’s IN FRONT  of the garage rather than IN the garage is because – yep, you guessed it – it won’t fit.  Thankfully, the garage door doesn’t open either. Ironically enough, I live in an ‘association’ and pay biannual dues. In the bylaws,  a boat or RV  cannot be parked on your drive for an extended period of time.  Hmm, … . I wonder if there is a time limit on stoves?

I forgot to mention two very important, yet concerning details.  My neighbor IS the president of the association. Oh, snap! AND, the ugly as fuck tarp is held in place by a bungee cord.

The Jeep Wrangler supported by 3 jacks hasn’t been there for 23 days, but it seems like it.  The house is situated on the top of the hill around a curve in the main entrance to the subdivision.  The Jeep is perfectly centered in the middle of the half-moon driveway.  You really can’t miss it.  You round that corner and - BAM.  There it is in all its mechanically challenged glory. I’m not thinkin’ that’s in the bylaws either. Maybe I should ask my neighbor?

Spring is the time for garage sales.  And, let me tell you, suburbia knows how to do garage sales. By the way, I will never have another garage sale.  My wife had one under my protest. Once.  Her ROI was marginal, to say the least.  Imagine that. Leave it to my ‘hood to have a different kind of garage sale though.  An ‘exchange student leaving‘ sale is … rather odd.  First of all, I would think exchange students travel relatively light.  Second, wouldn’t they take their stuff with them when they leave?  Hmm… . Oh, the sign advertising this ‘sale’ was written on a cardboard box in black Sharpie and attached to the mailbox with a bungee cord.

I can’t make this shit up, okay.

Lastly, my neighborhood does NOT have a designated ‘watch’. Thankfully.  We do have an association. Not thankfully.  I have never been asked and will never  be a board member.  My neighborhood will survive.  And, oddly enough, the home values will continue to rise.  So much for manicured lawns and creature comforts.  Hell, I live next to a house with a stove wrapped in an ugly as fuck brown tarp attchaed by bungee cords. Go figure.

Only in this ‘hood, mang. Only in this ‘hood.

J Mraz IS ‘your’ neighbor


A few weeks back, I posted that morel mushrooms and asparagus are totally in season and being used to create foodie masterpieces by local chefs – professional and self-proclaimed.  Unfortunately, I forgot another vegetable that has a more limited life span and  not as much exposure as its culinary counterparts.  I was reminded of this coveted seasonal treat when Jake the bald Butcher with the bad buzz on barbers displayed packages of said vegetable by the register.

Ramps are a wild onion that grow during the spring in Eastern Canada and the U.S. They’re sometimes referred to as wild leeks, and taste like a balanced mixture of garlic and onion.

Though ramps are a relatively recent food fad, they’ve been around and enjoyed for centuries. They were originally foraged by Cherokees, and have been a staple spring ingredient in Appalachian kitchens for decades. In Richwood, West Virginia, where they grow prolifically, a local festival has been dedicated to ramps since 1940.  Some folks find ramps absolutely delicious —

  • so delicious that civilized people have fought over the last few bunches at farmers’ markets.
  • So desired that they’ve monopolized the spring menus of top New York City chefs.
  • So coveted that they’ve inspired tattoos.
  • So scare the wild plant grows very slowly, taking up to four years to flower and reproduce.

So, how did I become exposed to these culinary bad boys?

First let me comment on the above ‘so‘ statements before I continue.  And, yes, the format was ‘so‘ written that way in the referenced article.

  • I would so win any ‘conflict’ at a farmers’ market.  Bring it on, bitch!
  • I would never sport a ramp tattoo. So, there.
  • I don’t have the patience to wait four fucking years for a damn vegetable to mature.  So, fuck it.
  • I think the term bad boy is so stupid.  It’s kind of an inside joke, though.  Be that as it may, ramps really do rock.

I was eating lunch at a downtown restaurant and a ramp inspired dish was on special.  In my ignorance, I asked the obvious question- “what is a ramp?” The owner / chef was in ear shot, stopped in mid-chop and approached our table.  Not only did she answer my question thoroughly and completely, I ordered the special and left the establishment with a bunch of ramps fresh from her property in hand.  She didn’t even charge me for them. Later that same day, I ‘ramped’ up the flavor profile of my turkey rice soup. Tasty!

Note: Do NOT  discard the leafy green part – finely chop it and add garlic, olive oil etc.


That should probably be – Pesto! but … .  Probably not.

Ramp Pesto

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