August 30, 2012

My life as a contestant on Fear Factor

Remember the TV show Fear Factor?  The second segment of the show was always the worst and I remember having to watch it through covered eyes.  It was when they would make the insane contestants lie in a glass case and unleash 500 cockroaches. Or make them drink a liter of snake blood. Or some other grotesque challenge that would make my hair stand on end.  Now, I’ve never done anything close to those challenges (see my mouse blog for proof), but I have managed to get myself into some Fear Factor-worthy situations.

For my almost 30th birthday (my 29th to be exact), I went sky-diving for the first time here in Kentucky.  I honestly thought I would be scared out of my mind, but I was surprisingly calm and relaxed as I fell 10,000 feet from the sky.  It was such an amazing rush and I kept saying over and over that I couldn’t wait to do it again.  I should be careful for what I wish for.  Fast forward one year.  I was in Sarasota one afternoon during adult spring break (aka the annual SEC basketball tournament)... I was on a friend’s boat when we saw a sky-diver land on a nearby beach.  Our spontaneity kicked in and we immediately made a bee-line to check things out.  The owner, a very laid back man (almost too laid back), told us to meet him at this same spot on the beach the next day and he’d take us up.  We were too excited to notice any of the warnings... but the first thing that should have tipped us off is when the owner asked my friend, who is a commercial airline pilot, if he wanted to fly us up... ummm... this man was going to trust some “kid,” whom he just met, who “claims” he knows how to fly planes?  Talk about liability issues.

I debated on whether to tell my parents that I was doing this or not.  But I didn’t want them being blind-sided if they got a disturbing call the next day that there had been an accident.  When I told my dad, his response was, “Do I need to come down to Florida and spank you for not using your common sense?”  Once again, I should have started to tune into the clues.  But I didn’t.  The next day, we showed up on the beach more excited than Christmas Eve and the owner drove us to the airport where we met our tandem partners.  This is where the differences between my first and second sky-diving experiences started pouring in:

--Before my first diving experience, I had to watch two videos, sign my life away on at least twenty different pages of legal jargon, and go through extensive mock-training prior to getting inside the plane.  So I was a little nervous when my training session this time consisted of this:
Instructor:  Ok, this is what you need to know.  Have your arms crossed over your chest when we exit the plane.  When I tap you on the shoulder, you can release your arms.
Me:  That’s it?
Instructor:  That’s it.  Do you want to pull the ‘chute?
Me:  I am paying you good money for this near-death experience.  And I would like to keep it “near-death” rather than “death”... so no, I do not want to pull the parachute today.

--For my first dive in Kentucky, they dressed me in typical Top Gun apparel and I felt very official.  For this second dive, I was wearing my bathing suit (albeit covered with a top and shorts)... not so official.

--As the five of us loaded into the plane (my friend and her tandem, me and my tandem, and the pilot), my friend and I quickly noticed the pilot was wearing a parachute.  Why did the pilot need a parachute??  This definitely did not give me any warm-fuzzy feelings inside.  As we looked around the teeny plane, we also discovered the plane was being held together by duct tape.  No, you didn’t read that wrong.  Get.  Me.  Out.  Of.  This.  Plane.  My first experience was total tranquility... this experience was total anxiety.  And we weren’t even off the ground yet.

--When I jumped in Kentucky, I was the first one in the plane (meaning the last one out) and was behind at least 10 solo divers.  So when I finally got to the door, there wasn’t any time for me to get nervous as I stared at the ground because my tandem partner counted to three and off we went.  Hahahaha... not this time.  This time I was the last one in (and you guessed it, meaning the first one out).  When we reached 8,000 feet, my tandem partner opened the door and told me to dangle my legs out of the plane.  I was expecting us to jump at any second.  But nooooooo... I sat like this for eternity as we circled the shark infested waters beneath waiting to get up to 12,000 feet (I made the shark thing up... but that’s what my mind was thinking).  As I sat with my legs dangling out of the plane, I became beyond nervous as my only option was to look at the Gulf fade away as I was getting closer and closer to the Heavens.  At this moment, I officially turned into a train-wreck praying harder than I’ve ever prayed before...

And then we jumped at the altitude of 12,000 feet over the Gulf of Mexico.  And it was the most peaceful experience I’ve ever had.  Free-falling for a minute over the ocean and then landing softly on the best beach in America was a million-dollar experience.  And I’d do it all over again... only this time with a Xanax.

Driving my car into a lake
This has the tendency to be a very long and drawn-out story.  So, I’ll try my best to just keep with the highlights.  It was Friday night, September 22, 2006.  I was half-way through my shift at work when it started raining... and raining... and raining harder... and raining even harder... and this went on for hours.  My mom called me at work to tell me that she lost power and that her sump pump was over-flowing, causing her basement to flood.  Being the good (and amazing) daughter that I am, I made the decision that I would go to her house to help her instead of going home.  As I was leaving work, the water was up to my knees in the parking lot (reason #1 not to leave work).  The rain had slowed enough that I could now see at least ten feet in front of me, so I made the executive decision that it was okay to drive (reason #2 not to leave work).  And due to the power outage (that somehow affected everywhere but my pharmacy), there were no street lights... making it total darkness (reason #3 not to leave work).  

As I started my car and pulled out of the parking lot, I realized that the rain had picked up again, so I started puttering along with my foot off the gas... going no more than 10mph... I couldn’t see more than three feet in front of my car.  My mother lives one mile from my pharmacy, so I told myself that I could manage this for one measly mile.  I was handling this obstacle course like a champ... and then it happened.  In my mom’s subdivision, less than a quarter-mile from my mom’s house, I hit a flooded zone.  And my car stalled (we later discovered there was a huge tree trunk laying in the street that caused my car to get stuck).  Water was quickly entering my car from the floor and rising outside to a level above my car windows.  Thank goodness my electrical system didn’t short out and I was still able to operate my sun roof.  

Picture me now sitting on top of my car in the pouring rain.  (Quit laughing).  My car was stalled right in front of a house where the owners happened to be looking outside.  Clark Kent took off his glasses and put on his cape, and Superman came roaring out of this house to the rescue.  It was raining so hard that we couldn’t hear each other even though we were shouting at the top of our lungs... I felt like I was in a scene from a movie.  All I could understand was him screaming for me not move and to stay on my car roof.  This total stranger then swam out to my car... he kept telling me to hold on to him because he was scared I wasn’t strong enough to fight the current.  He practically swam me back to his front door step where his wife was waiting with dry towels.

It stopped raining less than twenty minutes later, and the lake that formed in the street disappeared in less than five minutes.  My poor car was DOA when the tow truck arrived... resuscitation was not an option... so it was towed to the car morgue.  It was a very frightening day for me... and also sad because I had to say goodbye to the first car that I owned.  

Dude, RUN!
One night over a year ago, I went out with my cousin, sister, and sister’s boyfriend in Indianapolis.  No special occasion, just for fun.  My cousin parked in a pay-lot downtown and it took all four of us (3 lawyers and a pharmacist) to figure out how to pay for our parking spot.  I tell you this because this past May, I went to the Indiana Pacer’s NBA playoff game versus the Miami Heat.  

After the game as we were headed to a bar, we passed this same lot with the jacked-up parking meter.  It somehow amused us enough that we stopped at this parking lot and relived our stupidity.  As we were standing there reminiscing, we saw a man jog past us in this parking lot.  Then we saw a police officer running at an Olympic pace trying to catch him.  My cousin starts saying to the jogger, “Dude, run... you’ve gotta run faster than that... he’s gonna catch you!”  And then out of nowhere, a police car entered this parking lot and accelerated full speed to purposely hit the jogger, causing the suspect to fly ten feet in the air.  

This scene now had our full and undivided attention.  This suspect was the bionic man because after he was thrown in the air, he then rolled a few times on the ground, and then he was up jogging again.  Then I heard it.  Pow pow pow.  My sister took off running towards the scene (why towards, and not away??) saying, “This man’s gonna need a lawyer!”  I tried to pull my cell phone out to call 911 to let them know someone just got shot (then I realized the police were 911).  As I chased my sister through this parking lot, my cousin realized the police had used a taser and not a gun.  Yep, it was a taser.  Because just feet away, this crazy guy pulled the tasers off his body and once again kept running... now even slower than before.

It didn’t take long for the police to tackle the guy, but it took four officers to hold him down as he remained extremely combative.  The two police officers that chased him were bent over at the waist gasping for air.  My sister and I walked up to the scene like we were private detectives on the case and just stood there less than 10 feet away watching the rest of the events unfold (my sister refused to leave this man just in case he needed a lawyer).  Meanwhile, two young guys who had joined us for this random Thursday night parking lot entertainment told us that they were outside a bar when the man was tasered the first time.  The man had ripped his jacket off, throwing it and the tasers on the ground.  Because he was already tasered, that is why the man was running at jogger’s pace when we first saw him.  This man was truly the Energizer bunny on crack... he just kept going and going and going.  

**After these experiences, I can now say bring on Fear Factor.  Joe Rogan... you can’t scare me (just don’t use a mouse, please!).

August 29, 2012

I wear a different hat to work every day

My degree is in pharmacy.  My profession is a pharmacist.  However, most days I am doing things that I never learned in pharmacy school... but somehow these “additional” tasks made their way into my job description.  Every day in the pharmacy is like a box of chocolates... you never know what you’re gonna get.  My job is never monotonous and these extra job duties are at times humorous... and that’s why I am sharing with you... because that’s my job... to make you laugh.  

Yes, you read that right.  Plumber.  I won’t go into details about our public restrooms in case you are eating right now, but people do things in public restrooms they would never consider doing in their own home (or at least I would hope not).  Whatever nasty scene your mind is thinking of right now is in no comparison to some of the toilets I’ve had to plunge.  

On a cleaner note, I put my plumber skills to work in the pharmacy recently when our filtration system started leaking.  Because there were too many valves to remember which ones go left, right, up, down... I just grabbed bottles of purified water off the shelf and we measured water the old-fashioned way with a graduated cylinder (that’s my idea of re-routing the plumbing).  When the plumber guy finally called to walk me through the correct process on how to connect the water tubing, our conversation lasted less than three minutes before he asked when a man someone with a little more plumbing experience would be there.  I obviously did not awe him when I told him that I once replaced a shower head by myself (I even used plumber’s tape... and the fact that I even know what plumber’s tape is should impress you).

*411 operator
--“Do you have the number to my doctor’s office?”
--“There’s a dentist office across the street from you, what is their phone number?”
--“What’s the phone number to my insurance company?”
...and my favorite so far “Do you know what time Rite-Aid closes?  Can you get me their address and number please?”

A sweet little old lady came to the pharmacy and wanted to know if we still carried a certain product.  She showed me a bottle that looked at least 50 years old... I had never heard of it before, I don’t remember the name, and have no idea what was used for... all I remember is the label on the bottle said it was manufactured in 1975.  1975??!?  I wasn’t even born.  Who still has a bottle in their house (wine excluded) that was born in 1975?  I refrained from asking the lady if I could keep the empty bottle to add to my antique pharmacy collection... but this would have been a great find.

One example....
Me:  How may I help you?
Patient:  Picking up a prescription... last name is “Whales”
Me:  (trying to interpret his thick Kentucky accent)  “Whales”... as in the animal?
Patient:  What?  No, “Whales”... W-E-L-L-S
Me:  You mean “Wells”?
Patient:  Yes, “Whales”

And other one for good measure...
Patient:  I need a box of your 20-count 120’s
Me:  (interpreting his meth street slang)  You mean you want a box of our 12-hour Sudafed with 20 tablets in a box?

*Sanitation engineer
A man came up to the counter tonight with his precious little daughter to purchase her prescription.  As I was ringing up her prescription, the dad asked if he could pay for their other purchases as well.  The dad handed me what initially seemed to be a bottle of Sprite.  I threw up a little (ok, a lot) in my mouth when I realized what was actually in this bottle:  tobacco-laced brown saliva.  I was ringing up a man’s spit can.  I just touched a man’s spit can.  I touched it.  With my own fingers.  Without gloves.  I quickly washed my hands four times and then wiped down any exposed skin with antibacterial gel sanitizer in case any germs jumped off that bottle.

Shortly thereafter, a five year old boy came to the counter with the worst cough I’ve heard in a long time.  As he was watching me mix his antibiotic, he put his little chin on our (already germ infested) counter and started hacking away... without covering his mouth.  I could see the droplets from his cough spraying all over our counter.  After he left, I armed myself with gloves and a mask and spent the next ten minutes scrubbing the counter with alcohol.

I won’t even go through our procedure for handling a prescription that is dropped off covered in blood.  Just another day in the life of a sanitation engineer.  

*Computer and mechanical engineer
Let’s see... this past week I have had to remove a paper jam in our printer at least a hundred times, fix our scanner that prints labels, and reboot my computer no less than ten times upon it freezing.  I then managed to kick our pill-counting robot when it kept giving me the same error message over and over, and also reset our store internet server on accident.  Not to mention that I broke our new touch-screen registers.  Needless to say, I have our help desk on speed dial, and have become quite the technical guru in fixing these problems (most of which are self-induced due to my lack of patience).

Yes, I sometimes have to channel my inner Psychic Friends Network while at work.  I have to predict insurance ID numbers... and how long it will take for a doctor to return our message... and if we have the drug in stock without seeing the prescription... and... and... and...  You get the point.

**As you can see, I do more each day than put pills in a bottle.  More than just counsel patients and immunize.  More than just health testing.  I wear a beautician hat (which hair dye is the best for a dry scalp?) and a lawyer hat (can I sue my doctor for writing the wrong dose?).  And my favorite hat that I wear every day is the "decider” hat... I mean, a girl's gotta eat and I have to decide what I want for lunch (choosing from the same five options becomes very difficult task).  So there you go... a sample of the many hats I wear... but at least I make the hats look good :)

August 16, 2012

A glimpse into the drug world

Working in a retail setting is a love/hate relationship.  I love the public, yet I hate the public.  But one thing is for sure... the public sure does make my job (very) interesting.  Everyday is a new adventure.  And just when I think I’ve seen it all, there is always someone who acts stupider than I ever thought possible surprises me.  My next project is to write a book on being a retail pharmacist... I guarantee it’ll be a New York Times bestseller... guaranteed.  

A young man comes to the counter needing to check out.  Due to HIPAA regulations, I can’t tell you this man’s name, but if I could, it would make this story 100 times funnier.  The conversation at check-out went something like this:
Man:  (swipes his debit card)  It tells me to enter a PIN number.
Me:  Ok, you’ll need to enter your PIN number on the key pad.
Man:  Ok, what’s that number?
Me:  (Seriously?)  Your PIN number... you know... the special code to use your debit card.
Man:  How am I supposed to know that?
Me:  (Is this card stolen?  You’ve never used a debit card before?  You are my age, this is something I would expect from an 85 year old.)  Your PIN number... the special four digit code that your bank sends you to use your card.
Man:  Oh, is it these four numbers on the back of my card? (referring to the printed numbers on the back of the card)
Me:  No.  
Man:  (He tries them anyways)  That don’t work.
Me:  Have you ever used this card before?
Man:  Yeah, but I ain’t never had to enter no PIN number.
Me:  Is there someone you can call that might know the number?
Man:  Hold on.  (He makes a phone call, comes back with the number, and all is good.)
My tech:  (who was standing at the drive-thru with her back to me)  I wanted to turn around so bad, but knew as soon as I saw your face that I would pee my pants from laughing.  How did you not laugh?
Me:  It’s a special talent that takes a lot of on the job training.

Mylanta and Maalox have been on recall/backorder/shortage/discontinued (I’m really not sure which one, but these manufacturers really need to get their ish together... how can there be a drug shortage on meds that have been around since the Flintstones drove cars with their feet?)  We haven’t had either of these meds (which are basically the same thing for those unfamiliar) in months, and never realized how popular they were until the public outcry started.  So when we received five bottles of each this week, I felt like we had found gold... so we kept them in the pharmacy.
Elderly man comes to pharmacy:  I can’t find your Mylanta or Maalox anywhere.
Other pharmacist:  (speaking to me)  Wait, didn’t we just receive some?
Me:  Yes, I put it on the back shelf.
Pharmacist:  We have some, just a second.
Man:  Where do I find it?
Pharmacist:  It’s back here in the pharmacy.
Man:  No, I want the stuff you can buy out here in the store.
Pharmacist:  This is the same thing, we are just keeping it back in the pharmacy because we didn’t receive very much.
Man:  Oh, okay.  I want your brand... the generic.
Pharmacist:  Do you want the Maalox or Mylanta?
Man:  I want the generic.
Pharmacist:  I have the generic, but do you want it as Maalox or Mylanta?
Man:  Don’t you have your brand?
Me:  (under my breath)  Just pick one for him...
Pharmacist:  Come to the register.
Man:  Is that the Dollar Store brand?  (BTW, we are not the Dollar Store)
Pharmacist:  No, this is a different generic brand.
Man:  I want your Wal-Mart brand.  (BTW, we are also not Wal-Mart)
Pharmacist:  This is a different generic brand, but it is the same thing as Maalox.
Man:  Why isn’t it in a green bottle.  Your brand was in a green bottle.
Pharmacist:  We’ve had a shortage, so this is a different generic they sent us.
Man:  But I don’t want the brand name.
Pharmacist:  This is a generic brand.
Man:  I don’t want it.  That’s not the right stuff.  I’ll just wait until you get the stuff you sell out here.
Pharmacist:  This is what we sell on the floor.
Man:  I’ll come back later.
Me:  (laughing uncontrollably... with tears... possibly snorting)
Other pharmacist:  (laughing... hard)
Third pharmacist:  (laughing really hard)
Me:  (five minutes later, still laughing)

And then these are my favorite one-liners and questions that we’ve had recently:

*Do you know who invented vitamins?
Are you at home playing Trivia Pursuit?  Or Jeopardy?  Am I your lifeline on ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’?  There are a bazillion drugs on the market and I have no idea who invented any of them (well, except penicillin).  

*What do you mean I can’t wait in the drive-thru?  It’s just a lotion.  All you have to do is put a label on it.
Yep, I already have a pre-made label with your name on it because I’m psychic and knew you were coming in with that prescription.  And you are my only customer.  Would you like some fries as you wait?

*I think it’s ridiculous that a doctor has the right to tell you what medicine you have to take.  I’m the patient and I should get to choose whether I want plain oxycodone or Percocet.
I think it’s ridiculous that those words even came out of your mouth.  Does the doctor give you a menu in the waiting room so you can pick out the drugs you want to order?

*You need to call my doctor.  My prescription says to take it every 12 hours, but he told me I can take it twice a day if I needed.
????????  I have nothing.

August 6, 2012

Grade so far for the Olympics: B- (and that's grading on a curve)

The Summer Olympics are the second greatest sporting event in the world.  The first greatest is the University of Kentucky basketball team versus (insert any team here).  But the Summer Olympics are an extremely close second.  I’ve been waiting for the 2012 London Olympic games ever since Michael Phelps’ eighth appearance on the medal stand in Beijing in 2008.  The countdown has been on for the past four years.

I enjoy the Winter Olympics as well, but not to the degree of the summer games... I just can’t get into skiing and the luge... it looks too cold... and I don’t like being cold.  And Shaun White is no Ryan Lochte.  But the Summer Olympics are my Prozac... I am so happy for the two weeks of summer’s pure bliss.  My Summer Olympic obsession began in 1992.  I was 13.  It was the year of the Dream Team... the greatest team ever assembled in any sport... well, excluding Christian “I like to stomp on people’s chests” Laettner.  (As a side note, you need to you-tube the NBA-TV 20 year anniversary special on the Dream Team... I’ve watched it three times and my love for Charles Barkley increases ten fold with each viewing.  Chuck, keep your phone on... I may be calling if things don’t work out with Michael Phelps).  1996 was the year of Keri Strug’s vault landing that had me doing laps around my house in excitement.  And my love for these games just continued to grow.

So just imagine my sheer excitement when I sat down in front of my television last Friday night to watch the opening ceremony.  I can summarize the show with three words: WTF.  The show’s opening scene paid tribute to the England countryside, including the British version of Noah’s Ark: 10 ducks, 9 geese, 12 horses, 3 cows, 3 sheepdogs, and 70 sheep... 70 sheep?  A faux Queen Elizabeth arrived by parachute, hundreds of children jumped on beds, illuminated butterflies rode on bicycles, multiple Mary Poppins floated from the sky... and the randomness just continued.  Since I was watching by myself, I should have turned the opening ceremony into a drinking game to make it funner... and to pass what feels like eternity waiting for the US athletes to march out (why can't we just go by "America"?)
Take a sip for each time the announcer tells how much something costs, each time Kate Middleton is shown, each time the word “spectacular” is used, and every time an athlete is shown carrying a camera.  
Chug for each country with less than 7 athletes, for each spectator you see crying, and for every reference to the Beatles.
Take a shot for every country that you never knew existed and for each delegation with only one athlete.

On day one of the games, I woke up and watched the US archery team lose by one in a heartbreaker... wishing they had Katniss Everdeen on their team.  I’ve never been so excited and intense about an archery match.  Only in the Olympics.  Then I gained a new respect for the sport of water polo as I watched the athletes tread water for what seemed like hours (and a view of the USA bench was a very nice treat).  Then IT happened.  I opened my computer and went to google something random and up popped my homepage of with the headline “Lochte gold, Phelps fourth.”  I almost threw my computer across the room... the race wasn’t even airing on NBC for another five hours!  Between facebook, twitter, ESPN mobile, etc., it has been impossible for NBC to keep the results under lock and key until they air on delay... talk about ruining a surprise.  Why don’t they also air a commercial during Saturday morning cartoons revealing that Santa isn’t real?!

We all know the results of the games so far (and usually before they even aired), but here are some of the stories from this past week that have captivated me:

*The world was watching precious little 16 year-old Gabby Douglas convincingly win the gold in the gymnastics all-around and the topic of the night was... her hair??  My hair is always sweaty wet and with some nice frizz action after a run.  This little girl was flying in the air doing absolutely insane stunts with her body, and people at home WATCHING on their butts said she needed better hair??  Hair???  I’m pretty sure on a scale of 1 to 10, her hair was a zero on the priority list in her preps for the Olympics.  Lay off people... you may criticize Gabby’s hair... but do you want her criticizing your muscle tone?  

*The Badminton teams expelled from the Olympics were a very interesting story.  First of all, how the heck is badminton an Olympic sport (don’t even get me started about jumping on a trampoline being a sport).  Regardless, a few Badminton teams purposely lost their matches to receive a better draw in the next round.  This is where my confusion begins.  How does winning a game give you stronger competition in the next round?  Sounds more like a problem with the dumb rules.

*Ryan Lochte rocked an American flag grille after winning a gold.  I’m still debating whether this was appropriate or not.  Regardless, he looked ridiculous.  

*I watched the 10k track race (6.2 miles) and learned two things: 1) these runners run a 10k faster than I can run a 5K and 2) these runners can run faster than I can bicycle.

*A 16 year-old female Chinese swimming “prodigy” won the 400 individual medley gold, with her final 50 meter split faster than Ryan Lochte’s, winner of the same event for men.  Has anyone made her pee in a cup yet?

*There is a segment on Michael Phelps about every 45 minutes.  And this makes me very happy.

I’ll have recap about the second week at the conclusion of the Olympics.  One thing I have decided is that I will be in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.  You can’t book a flight that far out (I already tried) or book a hotel (I tried that, too)... but I will be there.  Promise.  Because I’m seeing the events live... no more of these delay shenanigans.  

August 2, 2012

I may start wearing makeup to work

When I go to work, my number one priority is being comfortable... I could care less about being cute/fashionable/posh.  My work attire is usually yoga pants with a super soft t-shirt and my eight year-old Birkenstock clogs... and of course my white pharmacist jacket that hides my lack of work-pizzazz.  When at work, I rarely wear makeup (I might apply the occasional bronzer and mascara depending on how late I am, with late being on a scale of very to might as well not even show up) and my hair is always pulled up in a bun on top of my head (my long hair constantly gets in the way).  Bottom line: when I’m on the clock, I am very raw and au-naturale.  And I’m totally fine with that.  I’m pretty sure I’m not marrying or needing to impress the man at the counter refilling his Viagra, Valtrex, or Valium.  
So this past week at work, I was waiting on a lady in the drive-thru.  While I was typing her prescriptions, I could tell that she was staring intently at me as if I had three eyes.
Lady:  Excuse me, ma’am
Me:  Yes?
Lady:  You are very very pretty.
Me:  Well, thank you.  That is very nice of you.  (How do you even respond to that?)
Lady:  Do people tell you that a lot?  I’m sure they do.  We don’t see your kind around here much.
“Your kind.”  What the heck does that mean??  I was trying to wrap my mind around her words.  My kind?  Granted, this was coming from a lady who had a total of five teeth, but what is my kind?  I do have a slight ethnic look... due mostly to my dark features and my grandpa’s nose.  I often get asked if I’m Italian/Greek/Armenian.  No one ever guesses Mexican.  Hell, I didn’t even know I was Mexican until I was a senior in high school.  I knew my grandfather was hispanic and that English was his second language.  Although he grew up in Colorado, I always thought he was of Puerto Rican descent, I guess because he was stationed in Puerto Rico when he was in the Army.  Apparently my ridiculous thought process was that he was stationed there to allow him to return to his “homeland.”  Then in 1997, I started receiving several scholarship offers for Puerto Rican students because I bubbled Puerto Rican as my ethnicity on my ACT form, and my mom quickly took notice.
My mom:  Why are you getting all of these scholarship offers for Puerto Ricans?
Me:  Because I’m 25% Puerto Rican. (duh!!)
My mom:  No, you’re not.
Me:  Yes, I am.
My mom:  Where are you getting this from?  You’re Mexican.  Grandpa is Mexican.
Me:  But they lived in Puerto Rico when Dad was little.
My mom:  You grew up in Germany, that doesn’t make you German.
True.  So at the age of 17, I found out “my kind” was Mexican.  And my dream of being a long lost cousin to J-Lo was crushed.  I often get asked if I speak Spanish when people learn my last name.  My Spanish was decent when I lived in Mexico (well, I technically lived in El Paso, but when you can see the green street lights in Mexico from your bedroom window, then you lived in Mexico), but I rarely get to practice the language now as there are not many of “my kind” here in Kentucky.
About ten minutes later, I was still trying to decide whether to be flattered or offended by this lady’s “your kind” back-handed compliment.  But a man in the running for “Gentleman of the Year” trumped this lady ten fold.  I noticed this well-dressed attractive man wandering around the waiting room and went to the counter to help him.  
Man:  Are you the pharmacy manager?
Me:  (very hesitantly)  Yes.
Man:  So that’s you in the picture on the wall?
Me:  Yes.
Man:  You look a lot better in the picture.
Me:  (you need to go back to Kindergarten and retake “What not to say to a girl 101”... I’m pretty sure my face was priceless at this point)
Man:  Well... I mean... you look good now... I mean... you just look better in the picture with your hair down... but you look good now... you just looked totally different... but you...
Me:  Dude, you can stop digging yourself a hole.
Who says that to someone??  Within a ten minute span, I was told that “my kind” was very pretty, but yet I looked better in a picture.  The moral of this story is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  In my case, the toothless ladies of the world think I’m beautiful... but I need to get my hair and nails did before going to work to impress the middle-aged men of the world.  I had a fleeting thought that I would actually spend more time in the mornings getting ready for work, but that lasted about three minutes.  If I ever show up to work in something other than my yoga pants and with my hair down, you can bet the farm I have plans after work... because I’m still not interested in the men at my counter picking up their prescriptions for Antabuse, Aldara, or Avinza.