Theres a skill that should be taught in pharmacy school, but isn’t. Its learning how to hold a straight face.
Laughing: You mostly get this when the patient says something really stupid and you don’t wish to make them feel bad. However there are times when it takes all your will not to laugh at the patient. A prime example of this is watching an old man bend down to pick up his dropped cane only to rip the loudest, wettest, juiciest fart you have ever heard. Now to some, farts aren’t funny, but to 99.999% of the people who are actually living, farts are a joke that never get old. Other examples include “oh god” moments like having someone shout from the isles if they can use a Fleets Enema up their vagina, or asking for the “large tampons” because they have an “especially large cooter”. This takes practice. If the other pharmacists in the store are jokers, then this is a skill you must learn as soon as possible.
Disgusting: The yeast infection under the breasts is a prime example of this. Now the goal of this face is to not visibly show that you have been mentally (or sexually) scarred from this experience. You will be shown stuff that you don’t want to see. You will have to talk to people who have the worse BO/Breath/Cat piss/etc stank known to man. Boobs really aren’t /that/ bad, however add on the smell of BO and you have some serious face-restraint going on. This face can also be used when looking at boils, draining wounds, the use of laxatives and pill hunting in poop.
Embarrassing: This one usually involves teenage girls and personal questions. Pretty easy to keep a straight face if you know what you are talking about (or are a female and speaking to a female). You’ll be asked how to properly put on a condom, how to take Plan-B, or how to insert a tampon. It can be embarrassing at first, but if you’re professional about the whole event, it’ll go smoothly. Like wild animals, they are more afraid of you than you are of them. Remember, its okay to think the “You’re pregnant at 12!?!?!” thoughts, just not the face.
Anger and Disgust at Humanity: You use this face when some welfare baby-factory brings in her 10 children (who are tearing apart your store) and yells at you because her Protonix has a $3 copay /and/ she cant get her vicodin/soma filled 2 weeks early. Similarly, when a 11 year old comes in for prenatal vitamins and her parents are so proud of their little girl even though her life is pretty much put on hold. Welfare recipients who drive $60k SUV’s (and frequent the ER to get more OTC Tylenol/Pediacare/Pedialyte for their crotch-fruit) also fall in this category. You must suppress the face of disgust and be neutral. Keep on telling yourself that living a lifestyle off of the working class’ dime is extremely hard and we should feel sorry for these people. …..Then think what a load of bullshit that last sentence was and why these bastards cant go out and get a goddamn job and quit talking on their goddamn cellphones while you’re telling them how to give medication to their goddamn bastard children. Am I bit bitter on this subject? Nah.
Pity: You use this face when you are explaining (for the 40th time) a simple concept to an elderly (or just an idiot) patient. Its suppressing the face of “How did you get through life being this stupid”. Mostly seen when people (mostly elderly) do things that you cant comprehend how they thought that could be a good idea. Such as dumping all of their medication into a candy dish. Or deciding that if 1 is good, then 5 is better. Fortunately most elderly are hard of hearing, so that long sigh of “kill me now” you let out wont be noticed the first time.
All pharmacists, techs, clerks have been in this situation:
You are working along, typical day, when a well endowed (not in the good way) woman comes in obviously not wearing a bra. You think to yourself “oh please, not today” but fate drew your unlucky number. She quickly walks up to the counter, and asks if she could see you. You don’t even have a chance to mentally prepare yourself before she horks up her shirt to show you her two very red and very angry mommy-bags right there in the middle of the store for all to see. She asks “Is there any cream I can put on these to make the rash go away?” You think “Holy crap are they really laying on the counter?” as your clerks make a bee-line to the break room.
Now a seasoned retail pharmacist wouldn’t even bat an eye. Been there, done that, heres your miconazole, thanks for coming. Now we shall share our secrets.
There are some main types of straight-face holding. Lets review them.
So whats the secret? Experience, plain and simple. Having a stroke will help 1/2 of your face, but usually people don’t care for that solution. Ive given you a primer as to what to expect, its up to you to practice at home in front of a mirror.