A few years
ago, I had the privilege of being one of the writers
on a show that Obi Wan Sue Brophey was directing.
We were shooting at a studio that never had to be
worried about being called ‘state of the art’
and one of the few functioning telephones was in
the writer’s room. I hadn’t seen a hand-crank
telephone since Andy of Mayberry.
Generally, the writers frightened
the rest of the production people so they didn’t
come into our room very often. On reflection, the
word “room” might not really apply.
It was more of a refuse containment area. Sue, who
was always welcome, came in to use the phone. In
the writer’s room there was nowhere to hide,
so Luciano Casimiri, the other writer on the show,
and myself could not help but over hear. She was
concerned because Katherine was at home with an
ear infection, I think. Antibiotics had been prescribed
for the usual ten day regime but Sue noted that
they were running out far too soon. She was calling
the pharmacy to make sure they were given the correct
After reaching the dispensary,
Sue fully and clearly explained her concerns. Then
silence, as the pharmacist responded. Looking back,
I think what I saw coming from Sue’s ears
was steam, but at the time I was probably high anyway.
That’s when I heard
the phrase, “My good man...” Now, I’ve
heard the term ‘my good man’ hundreds
of times, in fact, I’ve used it many times
myself as in “I’ll have a double and
keep them coming my good man.” It
is usually jaunty and full of good will. Not this
time. It just hung in the air like I wish most politicians
would. “My good man...”
It was like one of those
moments in a Western when tumble weed blows up Main
Street, you hear only a slight moan of the wind
and maybe a coyote. Time stopped and so did the
pharmacist’s heart, I imagine.
On this occasion the phrase
and the tone of voice caused the hairs on the back
of my neck to spring up. How can I put this? The
phrase, as used by Sue that day, meant something
like, “Look pal, if we were face to face I’d
rip you a new one.” Sue went on to explain
in a low, firm tone that she was indeed a very knowledgeable,
intelligent woman and she could bloody well tell
the difference between five mg. and 15 BLOODY MILLIGRAMS!
And NO she was not overmedicating her child. I believe
Sue suggested that, perhaps, a mistake
had been made and might he check his records while
he still had use of both his arms. Yep, that was
steam alright. [She really didn’t make that
crack about his arms, I just couldn’t resist.]
The now stuttering pharmacist
admitted the prescription had not been filled properly
and that only half the amount had been issued. That’s
why they seemed to be running out so quickly. Yes,
she could pick up the additional amount anytime.
Please! All was settled and Luciano and I got up
off the floor.
To this day when I hear the
phrase “my good man” I crawl under a
desk. This has nothing to do with her birthday,
it just explains why I’m afraid of Sue.
Under a desk