Monday, July 26, 2021

Weekend on call

Dr. Grumpy: "Hi, I'm Dr. Grumpy. What's going on here?"

Mrs. Nine-Iron: "Well, we were on the 15th hole when suddenly she had trouble walking and couldn't talk anymore."

Mrs. Sand-Trap looks at her friend, then me, and nods her head.

Dr. Grumpy: "Then what happened?"

Mrs. Putter: "I helped her get back to the golf cart. Fortunately, this one had seat belts, so we were able to use that to hold her in it. Otherwise she might have fallen out."

Dr. Grumpy: "Is that when you called 911?"

Mrs. Nine-Iron: "No, we waited until we finished up and got back to the club house. I mean, we were on the 15th hole, anyway, at that point."

Mrs. Top-Flite: "And it's not like they were going to refund our green fees."

Monday, July 19, 2021

Customer service

This is Craig.

My summer job hunt (also known as the ongoing 2020 college Spring Break), resulted in me working at a bakery.

Okay, not a real bakery. It's not like I'm apprenticing as a p√Ętissier. I'm working in the bakery department at Local Grocery (same one Frank bags groceries & collect shopping carts at). This consists of me putting frozen pucks (that's what we call them) of cookie dough in the oven, bagging the finished product, putting a mysterious "garlic-flavored spread non-dairy food product" on slices of French bread, getting yelled at by strangers because at 9:45 p.m. we're out of breakfast donuts, writing "Happy Birthday" on some cake for a hyperactive 5-year-old who clearly needs to pee, and other valuable life skills, for minimum wage.

A few times a week I work the closing shift. Beyond the occasional customer questions ("Hey, how many muffins are in a 6-pack of them?"), this entails me wiping out the donut and bagel trays for the morning shift to fill up again, cleaning up the kitchen so the early crew can start baking when they get here, and moving tubs of dough from the freezer to the fridge so it will thaw overnight.

Around 8:55 p.m. the phone rang.

Craig: "Bakery department, can I help you?"

Phone guy: "YEAH. I've been trying to reach someone there for HOURS. I'm out of my medication, and need to make sure it's been refilled so I can come get it tonight."

Craig: "I'm sorry, this is the bakery. I think you're looking for pharmacy. Let me transfer you."

Phone guy: "NO! DON'T DO THAT! I've been calling them for the last 15 minutes and no one answers the phone."

Craig: "Well, they close at 7:00, but you can leave a message about a refill."

Phone guy: "But I need my refill NOW! I AM OUT! Can't you go over there and get it for me? I can just pick it up at the bakery."

Craig: "Sir, I can't do that. It's all locked up. I'm not even allowed in there. They'll be open tomorrow morning at 9:00, so if you..."

Phone guy: "You're being entirely unreasonable. I need my medicine! Can't you just call a pharmacist and tell them to come in for me?"

Craig: "No, sir, I can't, let me get you a manager."

Phone guy: "Is it the pharmacist?"

Craig: "No, it's the night manager who's in charge now."

Phone guy: "That's not who I want."

Craig: "Sir, I really can't help you. You pressed the extension for bakery. That's all I handle here."

Phone guy: "I'm not stupid. I know what I pressed. I'm going to go down the phone menu until I reach someone who can help me. You were the first department."

Craig: "Let me transfer you to..."

Phone guy: "Screw this. You're worthless. I'll try Beer & Wine next, and Deli is after them. Somebody there must know the pharmacist."



Monday, July 12, 2021

Job Training

The staff and Dr. Pissy were having lunch the other day, when I made the mistake of wandering up front to use the copy machine. As I copied away, a new marketing rep I hadn't seen before wandered in and zeroed in on the only person she could see - me.

Marketing lady: "HI! I'm Annie Oying! I'm here on behalf of Dr. Bonescrew's new orthopedic office on this side of Grumpyville, right across that street."

She takes a pile of business cards and insurance forms out of her bag and sets them on the counter.

Dr. Grumpy: "Thank you."

Marketing Lady: "It's great to have a chance to introduce myself to you! Are you a secretary, medical assistant, provider, or something else here?"

I should have used my stock line that I'm the guy who cleans the fish tank, but I was focusing on figuring out where a paper jam was.

Dr. Grumpy: "I'm, a, uh provider, I guess."

Marketing Lady: "That's wonderful! It's a pleasure to meet you, uh..." She steps back, opens the office door, and reads the names on it. "Dr. Grumpy or Pissy!"

Monday, June 28, 2021

Musical interlude

Local hospital, like every hospital, has an overhead public address system to page doctors, announce emergencies, and inform visitors of flash specials on stuffed animals in the gift shop.

Mistakes occasionally happen. Sometimes a hospital operator hits the wrong button, so you get a few seconds of someone dialing a phone, or talking to another operator, or the hospital's hold music, or (if the hold music is broken) a local radio station. The operators are actually in an off-campus office, so if a problem occurs it can take a minute for them to find out and correct it.

So yesterday, I was on call, doing a consult in the ICU. A cardiologist was paged overhead to the cath lab, but then the operator hit the wrong button and we got a local radio station.

Normally people just ignore this, but by sheer chance this was what was on the air:

"Another one bites the dust,
Another one bites the dust, Yeah!
And another one's gone and another one's gone
Another one bites the dust!"*

Later in the afternoon there were apology notices up in all the elevators, saying the hospital would be upgrading the PA system to prevent such occurrences.

*Although not intended in this way, you can use either this or "Stayin' Alive" to do CPR properly.

Monday, June 21, 2021


My reader, Mike, sent this in, and says this fine establishment recently opened up near his office.

Thank you, Mike!

Monday, June 14, 2021

Seen in a chart

 Here's some items that I've recently encountered in medical charts.


First, from the "she looks good for her age" category:


Next from the "that narrows it down" department:



"How vague can you get?"

Apparently time and chief complaint are now interchangeable:

And lastly, this helpful system telling me that an accountant will be making care decisions instead of me, no matter what I choose.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Show and tell

This is Frank.

As you guys know, for a little over a year I've been working as a courtesy clerk at Local Grocery, bagging purchases, collecting carts, and dealing with the public.

In that year, which rapidly became the most insane year any of us could have imagined, me and my co-workers have faced toilet paper wars, fights over cans of beans and bottles of hand sanitizer, and assholes who feel they need to scream at a guy collecting shopping carts for minimum wage about mask requirements.

But nothing - and I mean nothing - could have prepared me for what happened last week.

I was working the afternoon shift, bagging groceries as people came through. An endless stream of produce, canned stuff, frozen food, whatever, which I'm tossing into bags and trying not to smash anything. Fill a bag with 5 items, turn, put it in the cart, wash, rinse, repeat.

And then... it happened.

As I leaned forward to bag a lady's purchase, somehow, without me noticing it, part of my work shorts got hooked on the metal piece that holds the empties up.

When I turned to put the bag in her cart... RRRRRIPPPPPPPPPPPP.

The lady dropped her sunglasses.

The guy behind her stopped talking on his phone.

I was so zoned into grocery-bagging-autopilot that I didn't even realize what had happened until the cashier I was working with yelled "OH MY GOD! FRANK!" as she dropped the handheld scanner.

I looked down. This is pretty much what everyone saw:



My manager looked over when he heard the cashier scream. Thinking quickly, he grabbed the intercom mic and yelled for anyone working back in deli to bring an apron up front, like, NOW!

Unfortunately, while this would (sort of) solve the problem, it also resulted in all the customers at check-out suddenly looking around to see why an apron was needed so urgently, as I covered my tighty whities with a plastic bag of frozen pizza dough, asparagus, and 2 cans of minestrone.

The sunglasses were okay.

The handheld scanner was also okay.

My dad ran to Target to get me another pair of shorts.

They let me wear the apron home that night.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Dangerous drugs

After a drug comes to market, a lot can still go wrong. Even though it's been carefully tested, there are sometimes side effects, possibly serious, that won't be found until a large number of people have been on it.

So every drug company out there has a website and phone number where people can contact them to report side effects they've experienced. When this happens the company gets in touch with the physician involved for details.

Last week I put Mrs. Busybody on a new medication. She took her first dose a few hours before her neighbors hosted a large wedding at their home, complete with a live band in the backyard and a DJ in the garage, blasting merrymakers with tunes until the wee hours of the morning.

Mrs. Busybody wasn't invited.

So, of course, sometime after midnight she wandered down the hall to her computer, to contact the drug manufacturer.

When I came in on Monday morning, the drug company's "Adverse Event Reporting" form was sitting on my fax machine, wanting more information on this:

Monday, May 17, 2021


Growing up we were in a group of 3 families that did a lot together. Vacations, holidays, barbecues... the usual. Inevitably, this sort of thing leads to a lot of pranks.

And in the summer of 1975, a truly great one happened.

That year my family was moving from central city to suburb area, with all the usual preparations that entails. Because of the distance we wouldn't be able to keep our old phone number (people back then ONLY had landlines, young ones).

The other 2 moms in our 3-family group did something awful.

They printed up flyers on colored paper. It's been 46 years since then, so my memory isn't exact. But it said something like this:

"Due to my personality defects and physical shortcomings, I have no friends. Since I am relocating out of state, I am throwing a final, huge, party at my house. Food, drinks, and entertainment provided. Please call to RSVP and get the address."

And it had our home phone number.

They took the flyers to the city's largest mall, and handed them out everywhere. They put them on car windshields in parking lots. They stood at the bottoms of escalators and gave one to anyone who stepped off.

My parents were taken entirely by surprise when the home phone went wild. Call after call after call. Everyone wanted to come to the huge party that we weren't having. The phones back then couldn't be unplugged easily, either, as they were generally hardwired into the wall.

My Dad finally took all our phones off the hook, wrapped the receivers in towels to muffle the "phone off the hook screech" and put them in drawers. My parents thought it was some insane mistake until their friends confessed.

The phone kept ringing insanely until it was turned off when we moved the next week.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Random pictures

Okay, time to hit the mailbag for stuff you guys have sent in.

First is this, seen at a grocery store:

I mean, what have they improved here? Does it have 4 legs? 3 wings? Is the bird all white meat only? Also, does that mean the old, unimproved, chicken they were selling last week wasn't edible?

Next, for those who don't want improved chicken, but prefer it environmentally friendly, is this. Which, the more I think about it, sounds even worse...


For those who like their tote bags haunted:


Then there's this sales claim, because the world "surge" isn't scary enough as it is:

And, lastly, is this ad, long ago noting the benefits of not just drinking Coke, but doing so from a cup and saucer, with a spoon on the side (given the history of Coke, the spoon could mean a lot...).

Monday, May 3, 2021



I was called to ER to see a stroke patient.


Dr. Grumpy: "How did this all start?"

Mrs. Folger: "I woke up, and when I tried to get out of bed, I couldn't walk without holding on to stuff. My right arm and leg were both weak and clumsy."

Dr. Grumpy: "When..."

Mrs. Folger: "So, like anyone else, I figured it was because I hadn't had my coffee yet, so I sort-of-staggered down to the kitchen and brewed a pot."

Dr. Grumpy: "Did you call 911?"

Mrs. Folger: "No, I mean, after my 3rd cup the weakness still wasn't getting better. So that's when I figured I needed something stronger and drove myself to Starbucks. Which wasn't easy with the right side problem, believe me."

Dr. Grumpy: "Did you..."

Mrs. Folger: "Anyway, after I got there, the barista called 911. She wouldn't even let me order."

Monday, April 26, 2021

Beware of the Dragon

 What was said:

"She uses Mirtazapine, 7.5, at bedtime, which helps her sleep."

What the computer typed:

"She uses mate has a penis, 7.5, at bedtime, which helps her sleep."

Thank you, Jay!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Pauli's Exclusion Principle

 Seen in a chart:

Monday, April 12, 2021

New grad

Message left on Annie's voicemail: 

"Hi, this is Jenny, uh, Belli. I work for, like, Big Law Firm, and I really am an attorney, I mean, the lawyer kind (giggles). I hear good things about your doctor, I mean everyone says so, and I was wondering if he sees patients, I mean, clients, well, I mean, my client, and if he like, does reports and things and stuff like that. You know, like, legal reports that I can use for his case.  My client has a, uhmmm, what does he have,  hold on, oh I am really messing this up (giggles). Oh here it is he had, like, a brain injury.  So can you call me if this is okay and I can send Dr. Grumpy, you know, records and stuff, and that will explain this better. 867-5309 is my cell number, and he can, like, call me too. “

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