RIP: Frank, the Rock & Roll Pharmacist.

RIP: Frank, the Rock & Roll Pharmacist. June 23rd, 2006 by Mike E ‘He was extremely robust and thoroughly enjoyed everything life had to offer,’ reads the obituary, ‘Always the life of the party.’ When they say Francis Gerard Anthony “Frank” Giamartino (1953-2006) was The Life Of The Party, yeah — they weren’t kidding!

He was also a husband, father, Mets fan, Little League umpire, small business owner…none of which adequately explains the emotional jolt, my hometown received, with the news of his death. Frank was touched by what I call the Superstar Quality. He was Totally Cool. It was a little Cooler For You, if you were Frank’s friend. And Frank was friends with everyone. A genuine community pillar. He died in a single-car crash Monday evening.

Frank will be richly eulogized — deservedly so — for being a loving husband, father, community leader etc. I’ll leave that to the respectable folk. My gig here is to write a few words to celebrate Frank as my friends knew & loved him: The Rock & Roll Pharmacist!

There’s a Walgreen’s in Brattleboro. A Rite Aid, a Brooks & a pharmacy at the Wal-Mart. All corporate-giant franchises — all symbolic of everything Wrong in the world. Smart shoppers use the Hotel Pharmacy; a beacon of all that’s Good & Right.

‘How many pharmacists play you the Grateful Dead,’ a friend asked in a text message, shortly after Frank died, ‘While you wait for your speed?’

‘I will miss Frank. We all will.’ Reads a letter printed in our local paper, ‘But whenever I enter Hotel Pharmacy and hear those tunes I will know Frank is there, somewhere, dancing in the streets.’

I was a few days early filling my Adderall bottle, a while back. The doctor wrote me the prescription, but the pharmacy closest-by said VHAP (state-funded insurance for the poverty stricken) wouldn’t cover it, until a full 30 days after I last had it filled. So I took it to the Hotel. ‘I’m four, maybe 5 days early on this.’ I told Frank, ‘But figured I’d give it a whirl.’ ‘They’re your pills,’ he stated matter-of-factly, ‘I’ll take care of you.’

Woo-HOO!!

There’s a thousand stories like that around town. I’ll wager more than one life has been saved, when Frank stepped up to the plate, on behalf of a customer in genuinely dire need of medication — by Dealing With some heartless insurance company who didn’t care to pay.

The law in Vermont says hypodermic syringes may be purchased without a prescription. The law was passed to help slow the spread of AIDS among IV drug users. I don’t use needles but I have friends who do — friends I love dearly. So I’m hugely grateful for that law, and equally infuriated when I hear of a pharmacy not obeying it. Oh, they’ll sell you the needles, they say. Right after they call the police. The Hotel Pharmacy is the only spot in town to score clean syringes without threat of incarceration. For it I thank them.

There are Good People alive today who otherwise might not be.

It sucks that Frank is dead. Sucks Big Time, for his wife. In 2001, she & Frank lost their son Nicholas. And it sucks for their remaining children, who must cope now with the inexplicable loss of both parent and sibling. Gotta feel for ‘em.

For the many folks around town who’ve been strangely affected by the tragedy…it’s spooky. Does it remind us of our own frailty? Yeah, but it’s something more. We’re reminded of the frailty of our own — and, I propose, the global — Community. Fucked up shit happens. Fast. But not always without warning. I saw on the Colbert Report last night that Steven Hawkins says the End is so near that our best bet now is to Bail, migrate as a species to Mars & the Moon. Maybe. But trips to Mars are expensive. And I doubt anyone will give me a free ride on their space shuttle just because I’m so good looking. So I’ll hang here on Earth with the Poor Folk.

If we’re Toast for real — and we may be — I for one plan to get a wild kick out of doom. And who knows? Maybe all the assholes will leave the Planet. And let the rest of us get on with our lives in peace.

But one of the Good Ones left our planet, this week — and the rest of us are poorer for it. Fare You Well, Frank the Rock & Roll Pharmacist. So long, and thanks for all the Stinky Pinky’s!! May your family live out their days in comfort, good health & Peace.

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