Tuesday, August 30, 2016

sheer genius

When I was a child, I would beg for Mom to let me stay with Dad at work while she shopped for groceries. I would have been 4 at the time, as I was not in school and Dad had not yet become a preacher. He was a pharmacy tech, and the pharmacy where he worked at the time was behind the grocery store. It's name was Geriatric Pharmacy and it always bothered me to no end that they spelled his name wrong on the door. (His name is Jerry, and I was convinced it was named after him.)

Thanks to a game called Chutes and Ladders, I knew how to count to 100, and my older sister had taught me to count by 5s. So Dad would let me help him "push pills".  Medicine came in these HUGE bottles, and one of his many jobs was to drop two/three pills (depending on the order) at a time into a machine that looked like a huge rotary dial machine, and it would seal them into little packets. Dad would hand me a large bottle. My first job was to count out 100 pills. When I finished I would turn and tell him how many I had left over. I was always amazed when he'd frown, come over, look at the pills and go "Hmmm. I think you better count again. I think you might have 96 pills there (or 98, or 99). And when I recounted, I was always amazed that he was right. (And keep in mind I often lost my count and had to start over.) I was convinced that my Dad was a math genius. Now when I have to buy a bottle of vitamins or pills, I laugh inside when I see the count on the outside of the bottle. My Dad might not have been as much a math genius as I thought he was, but he was a genius at keeping me occupied. When I had finished counting and had finally reached the number he said I should have, he would turn on the machine and I could drop them two at a time into the slots. One time I dropped a bottle and it spilled into the machine. Too many pills went into a slot and jammed. He not only had to clean up my mess, but he had to sort out all the mispackaged pills and redo everything. I had to draw and sit in a chair the rest of that trip. I'm not sure, but that may have been the last day I counted and packaged pills as well.

I'm not sure who took this photo of my Dad at work, or why, but I'm so thankful to have a digital copy of it. It brings back a LOT of memories.

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