Monday, March 16, 2009

This Pharma Life: Ruined.

I listen to every "This American Life" podcast and I've recently started watching the TV version on Showtime. As I was thinking about writing this blog, I thought it might be fun to structure it in the T.A.L. tradition. Call it a tip of the hat to Ira Glass and all the fantastic people at Chicago Public Radio.

So, today on This Pharmaceutical Life, stories about things that are ruined.

My blog today is in three acts. Act 1: A mother misses the point of her own lesson. Act 2: The death of cool. Act 3: Mondays really are that bad.

Act 1

This morning I found myself standing by an elevator with my rolling file cart, waiting. There was nobody else around until another drug rep came up with another rolling cart. We nodded a casual greeting and looked at our phones. A mother pushed a stroller up and started fixing her young daughter's hair as the baby in the carriage started crying. Five other people walked up.


One of the elevators opened and the last five people piled into it, blocking the rest of us out. The doors closed, leaving us all to wait for another round. The young girl said, "That's not fair, Mommy, we were here first." The mother said, "That's just how people are. They have no consideration for others."


Another elevator opened and the mother raced over to it, jamming her stroller in, blocking me and the other drug rep out for yet another elevator. The door closed, leaving both of us, the two people who had been waiting the longest, standing in the corridor together. We smirked at each other. Good life lesson.

Act 2

I was standing in the back office of a prominent medical practice today when a famous Rocker was admitted to a patient room. I can't tell you who it was for legal reasons, but if you imagine any of the Hair Band guys from the eighties, you'll be pretty close. He still had the teased out hair, the crazy tattoos and the low-slung leather pants. I always wondered what those guys would look like when they got older... they look pretty much how you would expect.

As a rule, I try very hard not to listen to what people are talking about with their doctors. I'll go so far as to walk away from a room if I hear anything. Mr. Rocker was in the room for twenty minutes or so when he came out, still talking to his doctor, " my slipped disk is feeling a lot better but my sinuses are, like, impacted. It feels like there's a mountain of snot in my face."

The saggy skin, the trying-too-hard hair, the absurdly commonplace medical ailments... rock stars will never be the same for me.

Act 3

Last Thursday, I forgot to do laundry. This resulted in me having to reschedule Bow Tie Friday for the following Monday. Today. I was all excited about wearing the bow tie because, as a rule, Mondays suck. I figured everybody could use a little Bow Tie Monday, right?

On your average Bow Tie Friday, I get a dozen comments about the bow tie. People have shaken my hand, high-fived me, hugged me and dragged me around for other people to see. It's an event, and it makes everybody happy. Except, it turns out, if you do it on a Monday.

I was on my third call before anybody really even looked at me. People were locked into their Monday misery and refused to come out. No comments, no jokes and no breakthroughs with tough offices. It's possible that the bow tie has run its course, but I don't believe it. I last wore the bow tie on a Tuesday and got fantastic results. There is still power in that wacky little twist of silk, but nothing can overcome a bad case of the Mondays.

I'm Jeff Drongowski and I'll be back soon, with more stories of This Pharmaceutical Life.


  1. you truly make me feel better about myself. I once wrote a script about my last job as a NAFTA specialist; hoping it would get aired on NPR during a Saturday afternoon; you know, with the swanky background music that makes you feel mysteriously sexy in a wrong way and some throaty woman's voice ranting it off with incremental pauses and drum beats... yeah. It's late.

  2. Look at you and all your risk-taking. I think you should try puppy-therapy Mondays. Who can resist a puppy? No one. Even on Monday.

  3. I can't tell you how many times I've imagined getting interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air. Now, I have to be going. Seems I have to round up a dozen puppies before I go back in there...