Steroids, the Mitchell Report and the Destruction of 20 Years of Dreams

Sometimes it’s not so good to pet the sharks you swim with. The ocean might be big enough for the both of you, but that doesn’t mean that if said shark were to become bored or disinterested with his/her current situation, that they wouldn’t, in the drop of a hat, rip your arm from the socket and make for a quiet spot to digest and watch as you flop around in a red cloud, the only breaks in the cloud being the tips of his buddies dossals and the occasional flash of bone.

Such is life in the sea….Melville understood its cruel rhythms. Though, personally, I would have never put the sea in the same category as major league baseball. But that connection was made when I found out about the details of the report tying in the national past time with the other juice…O.J was in Vegas at the time…perhaps. So he may not be involved. But then he might be…I haven’t heard any plans to put the NFL under the same microscope as the MLB…But, in truth, I doubt the housing crash would have happened if they..(The MLB folks)..Had thought about the report that was about to be set free..Or if it had hit pre-mike Vick. Everyone would be grabbing real estate to use as a crutch against the times to come when the federal government would come knocking on their doors with damn near unplayable fines like the ones the MLB are gonna get soon.

Then I remembered all of the various shattered Olympic dreams that have been swept up with the empty beer cans and popcorn bags in the now silent stadiums of Tokyo, Seattle ect… All over the horrible substance, dealt out to the aspiring hero’s of the common folk by evil thugs in Michel Jackson “Beat it.” Jacket’s, who’s every zipper hides mortal travesties. I could see the scum…Going to look at his watch for the time and producing a small bag of glass vials purchased from a village in the Yucatan. And then I found out these pushers of evil and pains were doctors! It disturbed my fragile peace. I was very young…I still believed in things like the Easter bunny and honest cop’s…things that only exist in innocence. At that time, it was only a blip on my radar. Six was an odd time for me…but with all these new revelations and threats of asterisks, I felt it was time to see just what monster this thing was and, more importantly, why this nation of brothers and sisters has such a problem with these types “performance enhancers” but would gladly club one another, given the circumstances, to death to have sex with a woman who is comprised of thirty-five percent silicone and sixty-five percent unmade plastic surgeon appointments.

Follow with me…it gets a bit wiggy from here..

OK, first, allow me to explain. I would like to think of myself as a learned man on many a topic. From how to make a fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich without making a mess all the way to mammalian neuroendocrenology…and believe me, it’s a long stretch. But when it comes to something you put via the needle..Other than the works of William S. Burroughs, I’ve tried to stay away from such things. I think the aversion lies in the whole thought of a sharp chunk of hollowed out metal ripping through every layer of protective skin to puncture a vein that, if left open to bleed out, could empty all of my life blood into..I don’t know..say a trash can…Call me crazy but it drives me to nervous tension and fits of violence.

But sports, such as baseball and football, seemed like they looked for the athletes who took the higher ground…just sort of pushed away at the weights and had their bed’s rigged with machines to help them work out while they slept.

These silly whims were splintered like balsa wood with the unveiling of Former U.S Senator George Mitchell’s list damning most of the great players in the last ten to fifteen years…the four hundred page tome fingers over eighty names…from those that most of us already associate with the stuff..Bonds, conseco, ect. But it seamed that no stone was to small for Mitchell to turn over, with numerous smaller names mixed in for fairness.

I love baseball to an extent but, upon reading this report, I was forced into a night of introspective gloom and the knowledge that somewhere…a child is weeping wasted tears over a group that would happily peddle he/she onto the black market for a steady connect.

It would seem that major league baseball, once the comeback story in the “we can’t do it on our own” Olympics, appears to be the sport now delegated to the beaters of women and those who kick small children in leau of a wife. But then I began to wonder..why do we care about this? Why is a nation, weaned on “Baywatch”and Anna Nichole Smith, giving a damn about what the gracious Former Senator deems ” Performance Enhancers”?

One of the founding ideas of this country is the primes that no matter what you start out with, you can find someone and, with enough money, grit or guns, you can have anything added to your body, from breast’s and eye brow’s to noses and fake hip’s. Give them ten years and your favorite poodle wont have to stay home…you can attach him to your removable shoulder and be the toast of the town!

But really…why do we give a damn? Is it some mis-placed notion that the baseball guy’s and the weightlifting guy’s are supermen and, by proxy, girls can do it to be their counter-parts? That with these people, we put them up on high pedestals..Do they subconsciously represent our Ideal of human perfection at this late hour..To have arms that look like worm farms and Women who, if they fell lips or chest first, would bounce?

I would hope not! But just to be certain, I thought it prudent to seek the advice and council of one in a field that might have some insight into what would make someone strive so dangerously towards a temporary beauty fix. I found such a person in a local plastic surgeon, who chose for this interview to be called “Dr.Spimglon” instead of his real name due to his roots in the community. He invited me over for a chat one afternoon to provide some candid words on manners of conduct and speculate on the nuclease of such a movement.

“To the best of my knowledge, the lips and breast’s are the bumper crop it seams. And it’s been that way since the late eighty’s..Since the advent of the new leak proof bag’s.” Dr. Spimglon adjusts himself in his chair. I take this opportunity to ask him what he thought of the scandal involving steroids and the parallels with his chosen profession. “Yes..I have heard of the report. It saddens me that the competition is so tough, in these ranks. I don’t think these young men thought of the future when starting out in this direction. But the way both things reflect each other has not been lost to me. I feel that the same underlining reason runs through both obsessions.” He continued. “I feel it boils down to acceptance. When they..(The patient) see a star, be it on television or in a movie, they try to find something of themselves in them…. a way to identify. When they do see something of themselves in the celebrity, they sometimes wish to super-impose what they think they see onto themselves…or wish something as close as science can provide. I help these unfortunate souls see in the mirror what they want to see.”

“But yes, I feel it all comes back to being accepted. The constant strain the current world put’s on everyone, literally from almost day one, is a crushing force for anyone. Couple that with an open bank account and a self-esteem problem …the outcome can sometimes be tragic.”

At this time, I felt it good to ask of the psychological aspects of body enhancements, be they chemical or surgical, and the negative ramifications on both body and mind.

“So doctor…May I ask you a question?” “Ask whatever you wish.” “O.K.. So how much, in the way of silicone bags, can the body hold?”

After a fit of near hysterical laughter that, at one point in it, it became necessary to use high grade, hospital type oxygen.. Almost to the point of emptying one of the tanks that stood almost as tall as myself, He began to calm down. Upon regaining his composer and pulse, he asked me with an inquisitive eye just what the hell I was talking about. So I decided to rephrase my question. “What I mean to ask is..Just how much work can be done to a human body before it becomes too much work and the host falls apart?” I felt I had said enough for the moment and gave him a second to think on the question. But now, he seemed ill-at ease and was slowly scooting away from me in a manner that made me nervous. Perhaps I had gone to far. I had clearly said or done something that had fractured this man’s calm and, though I was sorry about it, I didn’t have the slightest clue as to what I had done or how to remedy the situation. So I said the first thing that came to mind…”you know..Like what happened to Anna Nichole Smith?”

A light of acknowledgment went off behind his eyes and a warm easiness spread over him as he settled back comfortably into his chair. “Yes..Well..Anytime there is a foreign object introduced into the body…especially if there are prevailing health issues, as what was the case with Ms.Smith and as well as with the mother of singer Kanye West, Even a small amount of disturbance, be it infection or whatnot, that the body would normally handle on it’s own…uh..Grows exponentially depending on the substances going into the body and as well as how many foreign bodies the body is dealing with. This was part of the problem with…um..Shall we say storing Ms.Smith post mortem. The body was at rest and not maintaining it’s internal schedule of upkeep and began to..Well, I’m sure you’ve heard it in the news. They can be so macabre sometimes.”

I told him that not only had I seen and heard of these things, but that a quick google search would render not only the “day of death” video but also post-mortem photos well into the “falling apart” phase. He seemed interested so, armed with only my minimal computer expertise, I did just as I had said to him. Within seconds of typing it in, we had access to roughly one hundred and ninety thousand sites devoted to Anna Nichole naked, either dead or alive.

After our third attempt, we found a site to suit our needs. Nothing but her..(A.N.S)..After death. Pictures of her in every format, footage of her dead body propped up, puke dried and dripping…all the way to two weeks later, with photo’s of a breast almost falling off of the ribcage…It was all there. And there we were…Me at the mouse and a doctor next to me, that looked like he had just fallen out of a Rockwell painting, pointing and explaining all of the discolorations and other things my mind and stomach didn’t want to hear about while the ladder was empty and my mind was being filled with the stuff of nightmares.

After about an hour, I felt it wise to throw-up before I tried to eat so that anything that made it down to my gut would be stuck there. I concluded the interview with a few nice parting words and he said that if I ever needed to speak to him again, to call. While I sat at a regurgitation-free lunch, I had time to ponder what I’d learned from the first plastic surgeon I’d ever spoken to. About two seconds into the mental inventory, it dawned on me that, while he helped in some aspects, I just didn’t feel like I had a viable answer that would make me sleep better. About this time, I had a brainstorm..THE WEB!!!

I got on and found many sites with tons of factoids that could be spit out by any fourth-grader with broken teeth. But these are not the things I needed. So I dug out the strange truth…many a feminist must have broken out in hysterics when they read their first article on steroids to see that once again, it all becomes about the serpent to their rainbow.

It seems that anabolic steroids are just synthetic male sex hormone at their base. A malicious concoction of acids and things most 12 year olds would throw out if mixed up in a science fair kit. A seeming “devil’s brew” that turns the upstanding gentleman into a frenzied, shaking, kidney stone spitting mess and even the kindest church going, athletic young ladies into balding, bearded junkie’s with elongated clitoris’s and a voice so deep it would shame Barry white..Were he alive, that is. According to a study done in nineteen ninety nine, eighty percent of the studies patients turned to heroine to elevate withdrawal symptoms brought on as a result of being taken off a steady diet of steroids.

Which brings to bear the fact that stopping can be every bit as lethal as starting. Once you’ve seen the light and are ready to step away from the needle, you still have depression, manic episodes that include paranoid jealousy..Even auditory hallucinations.. All of which lie in wait for the unsuspecting soul on the road to recovery and no amount of vitamin C is gonna help you out of those suckers. The truly sad thing about all of it isn’t the lives destroyed, the loss of honor to self and the game that made sure the lot of these rubes didn’t end up as construction workers or worse for the rest of their lives…Speaking for just my self, I think the worst part of this story is that the demographic that is growing the quickest, and as such are also using the most, appears to be the youth. Use of anabolic steroids in this group jumped from sixteen percent in nineteen ninety two to forty-nine percent in two thousand five. The group responsible for this catapult in numbers starts at six-teen and ends at twenty-six. The cruel trick of fate is that use of anabolic steroids during puberty stunts growth. So while they might be able to dead lift nine thousand pounds, they’re all five foot two, bald and sound and look like each other.

So what type of picture do these puzzle pieces make?

From the different aspect’s I’ve looked at it..Be it interviews, talking to people deeply affected by the report, those in the game ect..What I see is a destructive quick fix that’s about as harmless as a highly wound bear trap. But the reason behind the outrage was what I was looking for. The one thin string that connected every person I spoke to about this always came back to their youth and a story that started out with “when I was a boy/kid/growing up…”

These are fast times we live in. Every second, someone or something becomes obsolete and most spend their entire lives in a race to make sure it’s not them. In the midst of this whirlpool, youth, or at least aspects of it, are looked back on, in most cases, as a better…safer time. A time when you could put your trust in someone or something and feel safe in the knowledge that that trust meant as much to them as it did to you.

But those days may be long gone. And when you wake up to find crack heads invading your clubhouse, it’s only natural to feel some betrayal and the bitter fracture of an already fragile notion that at least something’s were still sacred. I think it was that betrayal that started the witch-hunts in the eighty’s and ninety’s. And now…

Sooner or later, something was gonna give, though. If not this, then something else. The world doesn’t give much time to myths…and even less if they’re steeped in fact. No one minds the plastic mistresses..Those are things of the flesh and adulthood and are subject to the moment. Baseball, though…whether it was just the cards for your front tire or a full bore obsession…baseball, for some, represents a time when the most dire worry was getting your homework done so that you could got outside…to play baseball. And no matter what age or social standing, It’s a time most boys are willing to reach for, and defend, for the rest of their lives.

Carl Tores