Working in the Pharmacy on Thanksgiving

People still are aghast that I not only work on Thanksgiving, but also volunteer to do it.

Sloth, gluttony, and football—each of them is terrific, but pile them all into 1 day, and you arguably have the greatest holiday on the calendar.

Thanksgiving is just like Christmas, minus the stress of trying to live up to someone else’s expectations. In fact, this holiday is so great that I celebrate it twice.

I have worked so many Thanksgivings in a row that I celebrate with my in-laws on the actual holiday as soon as I get out of the pharmacy, and then with my family on Friday while frenzied soccer moms wrestle each other for Pole Dancing Barbie or whatever the latest toy is. I have learned through the years that it doesn’t matter what day it is, because the turkey still tastes great and I’m just as happy to see my family for a terrific time.

People still are aghast that I not only work on Thanksgiving, but also volunteer to do it. There are a couple reasons for this. First, it is a really short day. Closing at 3 p.m. allows for me to eat a great meal and watch my brother-in-law suffer as the Dallas Cowboys take an epic holiday beating (which I do not believe will be the case this year, but I can hope).

Second is the fact that you always find that 1 person who truly needs your help. You can count on a kid discharged from the ER with a fever and a double ear infection to come your way at least once that day. You want to see someone grateful for your service and talk to that patient or caregiver.

Finally, it is the easiest day of the year to work. After 12 p.m., you see nary a soul in the store. It just might be the only day of the year when I actually sit down in the pharmacy.

I realize that sloth and gluttony go against my tenets of preventive medicine and fitness, but we are talking about a few days here. If I ate every day like I did on Thanksgiving, I’d have to have a live-in cardiologist and a Jazzy with dual shocks and a lift kit.

However, this is the time when I embrace my Inner Fatman, giving him a great, big, can’t-reach-my-arms-all-the-way-around-him hug. The key to surviving such a day is to celebrate it as just that: a holiday, not a holiweek, holimonth, or holiyear. Eat like there is no tomorrow, and when tomorrow comes, get back into ordinary time.

Thanksgiving starts a wonderful time of year. For various reasons, it is a very special time for me that I look forward to as much as I do the summer. I hope you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving. In addition to the food, football, and family, pause to consider all of the reasons that you give thanks. I hope you have a long list.

Jay Sochoka, RPh, is going back for seconds.