Carmine’s prescription for bad medicine: Read more Carmine!

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I’m madder than the 50-year husband who sent out invitations for his golden anniversary, inadvertently revealing to his four kids that they were born out of wedlock over the fact that no drugstore stocks the medicine I need, but every one is chock full of stuff that will kill you.

Look, Not for Nuthin’,™ and with all deference to award-winning columnist Joanna DelBuono’s trademark, it is probably more contagious in the aisles of the pharmacy than in a packed subway car. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has more signs about rules than the script counter has drugs and I for one would like to see more of both. The subway is a cesspool of unhygienic behavior that only a barrage of literature in all 800 languages spoken in New York could put a damper on.

Just kidding. Approximately 96.7 percent of straphangers only listen to their most primal urges and anyone who tells you different is trying to sell you something or is your kid, distracting you while he wipes his boogers on your sleeve. What the subway needs is a Liam Neeson to advocate for the health and welfare of train riders.

In the meantime, the wonders of medicine have been brought to a screeching halt by the chains of drugstores who are more interested in selling two-liter bottles of Pepsi Wild Cherry than life-saving medication.

Nor do I need to tell you not to be fooled by the “Open 24 Hours” sign on your neighborhood chain pharmacy. That is only for the upper-crusters who have the means to walk, drive, or take a cab and who just need a packet of Nerds, a compact mirror, and three beach chairs. Why, just the other day I went into a CVS store to buy baby aspirin and, disappointed that none was in the offing, left with a gallon of Nestea for a dollar.

Now is the point in the column where I make a right turn without signalling from this doom and gloom and veer in the direction of some stuff worth appreciating, such as the upcoming 50th anniversary of Linda and Phil Skolnick. This happy couple, to whom the lead sentence of this column is no allusion, will be renewing their marriage vows at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church on May 3. For those of you who don’t know, that is at Neptune and W. Eigth Street at 5:30 pm.

For those of you who know even less, these two high school sweethearts have spent their entire life living in Coney Island, except for when Phil did a tour of duty in Vietnam for 13 months starting in September 1965. He had graduated Lincoln High School and, when he came home from the war, he went to work for Frank Giordano’s Friscia Pharmacy for a year, long before it was immortalized by

As kismet would have it, Phil phoned me not long ago to tell me that he was an avid reader of this column and that our mutual longtime friend Frank Giordano, the pharmacist and original mayor of Coney Island, gave him my digits to ask for this very blurb about his anniversary. During phone calls that ensued I found out that Phil was also interested in becoming a member of my Pleasing Plump People Club. You see, Phil is a tad heavier than the old Screecher. To his credit, he is also two inches taller than your ample narrator. But the weight is enough that he is, like I am, too heavy to walk around on his own two legs. Naturally, all of this only served to further get my blurb-writing juices flowing.

If you were not yet convinced of the virtues of Phil — Linda is swell too, but I am on a roll here — the guy won the 2008 American Association of Retired People “Senior Idol” contest on the strength of his singing voice and prodigious civic resume, particularly his big background in Little League. Did I mention the couple is an American success story?

They lived in the Coney Island Houses for 45 years and, in that time, raised two girls, Cyd and Chirsse, and a boy, Sean, who in turn gave them four grandchildren. Those grandchildren, in turn, got runny noses, which prompted this column and, revisiting the idea now, that reminds me — I need to call up the pharmacy before it closes.

In closing, Zai Gezhundt per cent anni Laura and Phil. They will understand. You will just have to trust me on this.

Screech at you next week!

Read Carmine's screech every Saturday on E-mail him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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