Six Things Laurie Notaro Never Wants to Hear While Standing in Line at the Pharmacy (Again)

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Laurie Notaro is an author, crafter, and expert at finding a good cocktail. She grew up in Phoenix, but is currently based in Eugene, Oregon. Each week, she'll be joining us to share a crafting adventure, draw a flowchart, or remember a few of her favorite things about Phoenix. Today, she shares stories from the pharmacy waiting line ...

See also: The Six Creepiest Things Laurie Notaro Saw on Facebook Last Week
See also: Laurie Notaro Gets a Speeding Ticket (in her Prius) and Writes an Open Letter to the Municipal County Clerk
See also: Five Reasons Why Laurie Notaro Loves Phoenix

There are certain places in a grocery store that are far more dangerous than others, and for the innocent, I'm not talking about the ice cream aisle. I'm talking about the partitioned part where the Vicodin lives.

True, if prehistoric birds attacked the store or if there were a hostage situation, I'd always pick Pill Land over the candy lane as a place to hole up, but in everyday, regular circumstances, it's a terrifying, naked place. This leads me to admit that I'm there constantly because I cannot get my inhaler, high blood pressure pills and my Ambien dolls coordinated at the same pick up, and as a result, I know everyone there on a first name basis.

You're not supposed to know the whitecoats by name until you're at least 68, but at least I'm ahead of schedule for something. Still, when I get the phone call reminding me that my prescription is ready to be picked up, I shudder. If you really want to be afraid for mankind, you don't even need to know who Paul Ryan is. All you have to do is lurk for five minutes by the pharmacy, where humanity is not more than likely to raise its primal head, but also speak.

Six Things I Never Want to Hear While Standing in Line at the Pharmacy (Again):

6. "Do you know where the stuff for lice is, because I can't find it in the shampoo department."

Apparently, I don't get it. Suddenly, kids have lice and everybody is cool with it to the point of broadcasting it in public. Did something happen since I was in school that has made vermin an accepted part of childhood? I know bed bugs are all over the place, but really? Lice?

Who keeps going to Eastern Europe and bringing this shit back? STOP GOING TO PLACES THAT END IN -IA, you guys. STICK WITH FRANCE. I MEAN IT. Besides, I thought we got rid of lice and polio in the same vaccine. And to shout it out in a pharmacy line?

This is what I wanted to say to that lady, in no particular order:

1. You are dirty and you should be more ashamed;
2. Put a friggin plastic bag and a rubber band over your head if you cannot afford a shower cap, because one will not be provided for you;
3. If there was ever an unquestionable reason for the Internet to exist, this is it;
4. If my head starts to get itchy and find eggs on my head, I am going to sue you simply for being vulgar.

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After a horrid week I read this and laughed so hard I cried. I work in health care..sent this to everyone. You nailed it and the stereotypes are 100% right. Except you forgot one group...lack of sense of humor. I am horrified by how serious people are. How sensitive are they? Or are they just so self righteous and angry they can' t laugh anymore? I get it.if.its not your thing but analyzing it to death sucks the life out of yourself..and frankly makes you appear fuller than you must be. Go drink your prune juice...and don't read something by Anne Coulter..she may be more your style. Laurie just bought some of your books and we I get around to it I will review on my much fun! Loved..loved the one about your Mom..." Healthcare for everyone! " Hahahah!


Okay, Laurie Notaro, this is why I love you:  "I turned slowly to see he was wearing a napkin around his face like a bandit."  You make any situation funny, even something as mundane as your husband not wanting to make you sick, or you unintentionally eavesdropping on other customers while waiting in line at the pharmacy.   


I bow down (not on the pharmacy floor, however) to your greatness.  You are the reigning Queen of Funny.  Long may you hold the title.  (And when is your next book coming out?  not soon enough!!)





This article is funny. Is it a little mean? Yes. Humor tends to be a little mean. I've thought these exact things about people while waiting in line at the pharmacy. Pharmacists are not doctors stop wasting everyone's time by trying to show them your weeping sores!  When people yell that they need their anti-psychotics I think its funny. Do I seriously think they are bad or less than because they need these medicines? No. Humor is all around us waiting to be soaked up and reported. Laurie Notaro is doing just that. Humor is supposed to be taken lightly. There is nothing funny about serious humor. 

cabbiethegreat 1 Like

As someone who had lice ALL THE TIME as a kid (don't judge me, I went to a very hillbilly-esque school in the south), I think it's a myth about lice preferring clean heads. Seriously, they aren't jumping around, saying to each other "Hey, fellow lice, this one's good! Let's live here!" I heard a snooty woman in a store once, explaining to her friend in the checkout that she was only buying lice shampoo to prevent lice, her children didn't have it. (BS.) Then the whole spiel about lice preferring only the cleanest heads, like as if her child got lice it would be some badge of honor. Right, lady. Keep telling yourself that. It is excruciatingly hard to get rid of as well because you have to wash your hair and THEN manually go through each strand of hair with a fine-tooth comb, removing all of the eggs AND disinfect all combs, hairbrushes, wash pillowcases and bedlinens...UGH. Then you go back to school, hang around your lice-y friends, do each others' hair, and repeat the process all over again. My mom LOVED me. :D


Also, it was extremely embarrassing for me. Never acceptable. Just to be clear. But what can you do?


This was awesome.  I have worked in medicine for over a decade and my favorite was, I wish that I could just show you.   If you stand there and yell out what is afflicting you, then you are inviting comment.  I can assure you that when I pick up with psych meds I do not stand at Walgreens and advertise the bi-polar meds I am on.  I get paid to hear what is going on with your body, Laurie does not, thus you have provided her with material for our entertainment.  While, I have never had lice, my husband had them when he was a child.  He got them from eating Dorritoes under a trailer in Georgia.  Yes, I tell everyone.

CrazyandLaughed 4 Like

"You are being a very hurtful human being. [ . . . ] I'm sorry that someone like you could be considered successful and I'm really glad you decided not to have children."  Anyone else sense some irony here?


Look, there's this little thing called hyperbole.  Exaggeration plays an important role in humor.  I know for a fact that Laurie does not find mental illness itself humorous.  She has friends who have serious mental illnesses (like me, for example).  But, c'mon . . . there is something a little funny about loudly yelling that you need your anti-psychotics in front of a whole line of people.  If I ever do that, I hope people laugh.  This isn't an article about *people* or *illnesses* . . . it's about what people feel the need to announce in an unnecessarily loud manner.  It's lovely that all of you are perfect little angels who would never even feel the beginnings of a snicker or even a "huh, that's a bit outside the normal," but others of us are weak.  Add in a hyperbolic response to those situations, and you have something that some people might find funny.  Others not . . . whatever floats your boat.  If you don't find it funny, you don't find it funny.  If you feel the need to have a hissy fit about it . . . talk to your doctor.  There are prescriptions that can help you unwad your panties.

antoniamurphyNZ 1 Like

What's everyone so upset about?  Bleeding sores and mental illness are hilarious. Keep writing, Laurie Notaro-- this was my favorite column yet.

ohfortheloveofgod 2 Like

I just LOVE Laurie Notaro comment day!  :)  rotfl



Did Laurie really write this? It sounds like her mother (or the way she describes her mother; not that i know the woman, obviously) wrote it.

This comment has been deleted

laurienotaro 1 Like

 @cleodiva1001 If you have shingles, GO TO THE DOCTOR. If you have lice, GO TO THE DOCTOR. If you have a staph infection, GO TO THE DOCTOR. If you're a tweaker, go to rehab. Don't go to Safeway. It's not a free diagnosis clinic that just happens to be next to the frozen food aisle. Have some consideration for the public at large and take care of it the proper way. In a medical setting. A pharmacy line is not a medical setting, and I'm sorry if your mother did not teach you that. She should have.

niesgirl 1 Like

Ah, Laurie: My favorite in Mississippi,  over the loud speaker, "FRED, PRICE CHECK in AISLE 5 ON THE HERPECIN!"

AZPoolside 1 Like

Who at New Times read this and found it sufficiently humorous to print? Working in health care, I can tell you that stereotypes portrayed in this column or whatever New Times deems to call it are dangerous. Apparently Ms. Notaro prefers to live in a world that isolates people with lice, Staph, and schizophrenia. Not funny. Not funny at all. BTW - I think her chances of going to hell increased after penning this piece. 

laurienotaro 1 Like

 @AZPoolside This comment may be my favorite of ALL TIME. Seriously. ALL TIME.



 @laurienotaro  @AZPoolside 


<<I think her chances of going to hell increased after penning this piece.>>


Hystericalness ... I can easily envision all scenarios ...

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