The Column Drug Topics Rejected. Probably Wisely.

So, yeah, I don't have the best record of not provoking the wrath of the targets of my writing. And perhaps running my middle finger to Rite Aid in a national magazine wouldn't be the best idea. That's what editors are for, to make decisions like this, and I'm not the least bit upset we had to go to Plan B for this month's column. Maybe if I had an editor for this blog I'd still have a daytime gig.

Still, I think it was some quality wordsmithing, so in the spirit of "they can't fire me twice" I think the column ought to run somewhere. Here goes:

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Evidently I am one bad dude.

That realization came to me one day in early August, when the Fortune 500 Corporation that employed me said I was too scary of an individual to have around. I wasn’t quite sure how to handle this, as I’ve never been frightening before. I’ve prized brainpower over intimidation ever since the day in junior high when I developed a plan to charge my meals at school in order to minimize the amount of cash bullies might ask for.

Now however, I am the intimidator. I’m thinking about getting a tattoo.

This all started when my former employer, Rite Aid, found themselves with a bit of labor trouble in Southern California. The United Food and Commercial Workers union, of which I was also a member, balked at the company’s contract proposal, which among other things they claimed would lead to out of pocket costs for health care benefits of up to $10,000, the effective elimination of health care for workers spouses and children, and the virtual elimination of accumulated sick leave pay.

When I saw this I was a little angry, and I guess that much like the Incredible Hulk, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

The UFCW called for a strike authorization vote, and a strike was authorized. Both sides began to prepare for a fight.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve written a blog for the past seven years. I’ll warn you before you go looking for it though, it’s rated “R” for language and immaturity. In the wild west spirit of the internet, it is crude, rude, and incredibly opinionated. I’d also like to think it’s pretty darn funny and well written. Think “The Onion” meets “Beavis and Butthead.” It’s written “in character” as The Drugmonkey, and just as when you sit down to watch Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, there are parts of that blog that are meant to be taken seriously and parts that aren’t, and I’ve always trusted the reader to know which is which.

A trust that never should have been extended to Rite Aid Corporation.

People started writing to me through the blog to say they were being recruited to come to California and work as scabs if a strike went down. One person told me that when they asked if they would have to cross a picket line they were told yes, and that it would be “exciting”

That’s when The Drugmonkey said, in colorful language, that any scabs that come to California ran the risk of having their rear ends kicked. Take a look at that picture at the top of this page. You can see why someone would be frightened.

For those of you not familiar with the magazine, here's the picture that runs at the top of the page. Notice how scary looking I am: 




Within days I was told that someone who would write such mean words was someone too scary to have around, that even though I was told by Rite Aid’s media contact that the possibility of replacement workers being used to break a strike was an “unsubstantiated rumor,” a workplace violence policy had been violated. A policy, evidently, meant to protect unsubstantiated rumors from fictional characters. I am no longer employed by Rite Aid.

So this is what it’s come to in 21st century America. Use a contract to add to the misery of those who fall ill, piling on financial burdens to the burden of trying to recover your good health, and that’s perfectly acceptable. A company that purports to be part of our health care system proposing to bankrupt the sick is within the level of violence we will tolerate. But an individual using their own time and their own resources to engage in a little trash talk about the perpetrators of this violence? Well, that person has gone too far. It’s not enough that the corporations that now control community pharmacy micro-manage the way you practice the profession you worked so hard to join. They now feel entitled to every minute of your life, every action of every day, right down to the last stroke of your keyboard.

They can’t have mine. When I see injustice I will talk about it. When I see violence I will work to counter it. I may not know how to throw a punch, but I will not shut up.

My words are sharp. Fear me.
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The Column Drug Topics Rejected. Probably Wisely.
The Column Drug Topics Rejected. Probably Wisely.
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