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February 1, 2013

Bob Bestler | Drugstores turn trendy; farewell ‘cherry fox-face’

My little hometown had a drugstore with a soda fountain, one of those quaint things that went the way of the Model T once vending machines became popular.

My little hometown had a drugstore with a soda fountain, one of those quaint things that went the way of the Model T once vending machines became popular.

I stopped there often during my paper route days, and it once became the scene of one of the great embarrassments of my young life.

When a friend once ordered something called a cherry phosphate, he urged me to try it.

“OK,'' I told the guy behind the counter. “Make it two.''

It was basically a cherry coke and it was great. But the first time I ordered one on my own, I realized I didn't know exactly what it was called.

It had sounded like he had ordered a cherry fox-face. It was odd, but anyway...

“I'll have a cherry fox-face,'' I told the guy.

“A what?'' he asked.

“A, uh, a cherry fox-face?''

“You mean a cherry phosphate?''

“Yeah, that's it,'' I said, looking for a table to crawl under.

He guffawed and yelled at fellow workers and all other customers:

“This guy just ordered a cherry fox-face!'' Ha-ha-hardy-ha-ha-ha. Guess that's why they were called soda “jerks.''

I was reminded of this soda fountain encounter when I heard this week about a drugstore in New York City, a Walgreens, that, we were told, is not your grandfather's drugstore.

I resented that phraseology a bit, recognizing that I am now the grandfather, as she put it. Don't rub it in, OK?

Besides, I like to think I am still tuned in to American culture.

I may not keep up with the Kardashians, but I know who they are.

And I may not tweet, but I can spell tweet. OK, I've fallen woefully behind, technologically speaking. So sue me.

Anyway, the reporter was right about this place. It was not my drugstore. Didn't even have a soda fountain.

What this drugstore had was a sushi chef, fresh sandwiches, an espresso bar, smoothies and juicies, wine and liquor, a hair salon and a place for pedicures. And more.

I'm going to assume it had ibuprofen and diapers and toothpaste and boring stuff like that.

I'm also going to assume it had a pharmacist, somewhere in the back of the store probably, hidden away from the beautiful people looking for a latte.

It is, we are told, the first of many upscale drugstores we will be seeing in this brave new world.

Personally, I'd settle for a drugstore with a simple soda fountain, one your grandfather would recognize.

And one that can make a cherry fox-face without laughing -- or Tweeting it to his followers.

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