Literal-Minded

Linguistic commentary from a guy who takes things too literally

Picking Up a Prescription

Posted by Neal on June 24, 2011

My wife called me one morning this week, asking if I could pick up a prescription for her. As it happened, I was on my way to our grocery store and pharmacy anyway, so I said sure.

“It’s at Dr. M’s office,” she continued.

So much for combining errands. I said “OK,” but found the situation a bit odd. There have been times when I’ve picked up a prescription at a doctor’s office instead of the pharmacy, but only when the doctor was a veterinarian. This medicine must be something pretty unusual for the doctor himself to have to provide it.

I finished the grocery trip, and in the afternoon I went to the doctor’s office. Exactly what kind of powerful drug did these people have for my wife? The receptionist walked to an accordion folder, reached into a slot near the back, and pulled out … a slip of paper! Signed by the doctor, with the name of a medicine on it!

Suddenly I remembered that doctors often provide patients such pieces of paper, and that these pieces of paper are called prescriptions. Of course, when you give your pharmacist one of these papers with the name of a medicine on it, and they sell you a bottle of that actual medicine, that’s a prescription, too. I’ve got to learn to keep those straight.

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2 Responses to “Picking Up a Prescription”

  1. viola said

    Just perused an article titled “Tricks to calm bathroom decor”. My mind went three different ways with THAT one.

  2. It’s not very literal-minded to understand “prescription” as “a bottle of that actual medicine”.

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