Today I went to pick up some prescriptions … yes I have multiple prescriptions to make somethings higher, somethings lower, and somethings not want to go screaming naked into the night with a baseball bat. The pharmacist started scanning them in and said “There’s no cost. You get free drugs.”
Yes, free drugs that cost me $3,500 in medical bills between January 1st and today. Now it is a treat to know that for the rest of the year my drugs will be “free” and so will most of any medical visits.
While I was contemplating my “free” drugs it took me back to 1978 — in a place far far away called Sandstone Federal prison. My then boyfriend was getting out after serving a few years for things I’m better off not talking about. I had driven up to the prison to pick him and bring him back to the cities where he would be spending a month or two in a halfway house.
I sat in the reception area of the prison, which you can imagine is just as lovely and welcoming as a mattress in the back of a rusty old van. When he finally came through the doors he barely said a word to me just “Come on let’s get the f*** out of here.” I kind of wondered if he thought it was an error that they were letting him out and we should leave before they called him back.
As we walked to my car — a great car, a 1970 Mustang (I loved that car) — I saw he was carrying his personal belongings in a gym bag. I asked where he got the bag and he told me that it is given to you when you leave along with some large sum of money like $50. It was then I said the stupidest thing, or one of the stupidest things I’ve ever said — “Wow, I can’t believe you got a gym bag for free!”
Well he reminded me of the fact that he had to go to jail to get this bag — that is wasn’t really “free.”
So the moral of this story — if there is one — is 1) not much of anything is really “free,” and 2) I should have gotten into my Mustang and driven away leaving him in the rearview mirror.