There’s always been a stigma associated with steroids, but the public also seems to be largely in the dark regarding what, exactly, steroids are, and what they do. For example, we know that steroids are not as healthy as say, bananas. But are they REALLY that bad? If so many of our beloved professional athletes — and Jose Canseco — have been more than willing to use these performance-enhancing drugs, then what’s the big deal? Sure, steroids have completely warped the average sports fans’ preconceived notions of fairness and the innocence associated with athletic contests. But who cares about the average fan anyway? Certainly not me. I’m more interested in drugs.
Could it be that trusted people within the community like our parents, teachers, and pharmacists have been lying to us all along about steroids? After all, in his new book, Jose Canseco argues that steroids are good, and I can’t remember the last time Jose Canseco was wrong. To learn more about steroids, I have contacted Victor Conte for an exclusive one-on-one interview. Conte, as you may recall, was the brains behind BALCO (Big Arms Lead to Contractual Overload), a lab responsible for creating designer steroids for professional athletes. He made news a few months ago by doing a revealing “20/20” interview, so I guess THIS interview is not as exclusive as I had previously claimed. Also, for legal reasons, what you’re about to read is not actually Victor Conte. Once again, he did not return my calls, but his secretary has given me permission to print what I THINK he would say if he were sitting in front of me right now. Nevertheless, let’s get this exclusive interview underway.
Me: Victor — Can I call you “Vic?”
Conte: I would appreciate it if you did not.
Me: Great. Vic, what ARE steroids?
Conte: I’m glad you asked. Steroids are delicious heart-shaped tablets that are ground into dust and then injected into athletes’ butts by Jose Canseco, or another untrained professional.
Me: Okay. Why?
Conte: The steroid dust spreads throughout the bloodstream, causing larger muscles for strength.
Me: That doesn’t sound very scientific, Vic. Do you have a degree in medicine?
Conte: Listen — I’m not here to bore you with science. I may not be as charismatic as “Mr. Wizard,” or as knowledgeable as the doctor from “Melrose Place.” Let’s just say that steroids are as harmless as apple pie. Or asbestos.
Me: Is the “apple pie” you speak of filled with razor blades?
Conte: In some cases, yes.
Me: The term “human growth hormone” seems to imply “safety.” Nevertheless, what ARE the short-term side effects of steroids?
Conte: Increased sex appeal, bigger muscles, smaller private parts, more home runs, Bill Romanowski, gigantism of the head, loss of dignity, road rage, bleeding, and sometimes sporadic coughing, however, the coughing only occurs in extreme cases. Did I mention more home runs?
Me: Yes, you did. That doesn’t sound so bad. (You can’t actually see me now, but I’m winking sarcastically at the cameras). Now, what are the long-term effects of steroids?
Conte: Coughing, divorce, nagging injuries, and sometimes death.
Me: Wouldn’t you consider “death” a harmful long-term side effect of steroids?
Conte: Not really, whatever your name is. You see, death can be a side effect of anything, because we all die. Like, some guy could take out the garbage tomorrow, die in forty years, and then some “doctor” could say that death is a side effect of taking out the garbage. That’s why I make my wife take out the garbage. Ha, ha, ha!
Me: That’s hilarious. Do you think it’s fair that steroids have become so rampant in professional sports, especially baseball?
Conte: Fair to who? The steroids are out there. If some guy decides that he wants to get by on just hard work, talent, and dedication, then that’s HIS problem! Then HE’S not being fair to himself, OR the fans. You see what I mean?
Me: Sort of. But not really. Vic, give me an argument FOR steroids.
Conte: That’s easy. I’ve got three words for ya’: more home runs.
Me: Well, I’m sold. Maybe we should wrap this up. But before we do, is there anything else that you’d like to make the public aware of regarding steroids?
Conte: As a people, we need a complete alteration of our perception of steroids. Remember when everyone thought that the world was flat, and Copernicus had to sail to Mexico to prove everybody wrong? Or what about the ‘80’s, when everyone thought that crack was so bad? What ever happened to THAT? The same thing goes for steroids. Years from now, we’ll all be sitting here laughing at the fact that we ever thought steroids were bad.
Me: Except for all the athletes who died from steroids.
Conte: Yes, except for all th…HEY!
Me: Thanks for stopping by, Vic. You really shed some light on our ignorance regarding steroids. One last question: Do you think all of Barry Bonds’ records should have an asterisk?
* Note: Anyone who thinks that steroids are a good thing is an idiot. That goes for you too, Jose.