Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Pharmacist

There's a pharmacy I use where the owner dispenses the pills, and he's perennially stressed. Very stressed. He does not have time for your nonsense .

In his view, it just never frickin' lets up. He's got prescriptions to fill, but a never ending procession of people keep walking in to add to his queue. And as he juggles both sides of that equation, he's interrupted by frequent phone calls raising fresh issues and aggravations. He can't fill the prescriptions when the phone rings, so the queue gets larger and he gets further behind and Mrs. Williams is standing there demanding her damned blood pressure pills. So when, exactly, is he supposed to handle Mr. Jones' statins? The three-headed monster of his daily existence must be continuously fed. Dance, varmint, dance!

The pharmacist is not happy. He can never be happy. When would he be happy?

Of course, he could simply choose to be calm and relaxed. He could enjoy it. He could ride the waves rather than panic-dodge their looming crests. He might be delighted to see Mrs. Williams, wish her a cheery good day, tell her her pills will be ready by three, and I'm so sorry, Mrs. Jones, you'll be all set in a jiffy. And the phone! Fresh action - the grist that keeps my business afloat and my vocation consummated! I love when the phone rings! This is sweet success. This is how I serve as the lifeblood of my beloved community!

Yeah, he could opt for ecstasy. Or any gradation of misery or happiness (the choice is made early on, as I explained in the seminal Slog posting, "Ballasting Happiness"). It's easy-peasy; simply a question of whether you'll relax into it, or else sputter and flail in pointless stress.

Musicians may play on top of the beat - pushing aggressively forward, like a punk singer - or lag behind, like a laid back blues guitarist. Or any other gradation of pushing or lagging. But those who push against the beat don't get done sooner. At the end of the night, they won't have played more songs. The tempos are the tempos; one's approach to tempo doesn't change that. It's nothing more than a stylistic choice.

Nothing more than a stylistic choice.

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