Doping for Dummies

Major-league jerk and minor-league athlete Lance Armstrong has finally confessed his use of performance-enhancing drugs.  Who cares?  Why cheaters like Armstrong, Barry Bonds et al get so much attention is beyond me.  Throw the bums out and be done with it.

It’s hard for me to understand why these guys do it.  Granted, my body type — petite, inverted triangle — is custom-made for my sport of choice: women’s indoor elliptical with moving handlebars.

As it happens, my lightning speed and perpetual motion are so natural they call me “The Hummingbird”.  Many times seeming strangers have approached me around town and exclaimed “I know you!  You’re the girl from the gym!  How do you go so fast and for so long?”

Alas, there is a down side to such organic athletic prowess.  Recently, the gym owner, ordinarily a darling man, called me into his office, shut the door, and asked me to sit.

Having been summoned to the principal’s office numerous times in my youth, I knew I was in trouble.  He told me that he’d been looking at the cost of wear and tear and needed me to go easier on the machines.  (Hmm.  The manufacturer says my favorite model is rated to support a 450-lb person.  That’s more than four times my size!  It’s not me making the depreciation!)

Anyway, back to trying to comprehend why the drugs.  Of course, some people will cheat to win even the most meaningless competition.

Shortly after arriving at college, my dorm had a contest called The Roommate Game, patterned after The Newlywed Game TV show.  Ostensibly, the purpose was to test how well each pair of roommates knew one another, but the real goal was to get the roommates to reveal embarrassing details about each other.  My roommate stole the questions from the Residential Advisor.  For what?

Perhaps the motivation to cheat feels irresistible to some professional athletes because they believe the sizable rewards of fame and fortune outweigh the momentary penalties of admission and awkwardness.  Or maybe they are so arrogant they never even consider the possibility of getting caught.

Still, I wonder how they tolerate the repeated injections and nasty side effects.  See, despite my staunch opposition to drugs, there are times when there is no alternative for me but to resort to corticosteroids.  For treating a chronic medical condition.

Sometimes this means injections to my spine, a procedure so excruciatingly painful that general anesthesia and intravenous morphine are required.  Maybe it doesn’t hurt so much when you get the needle between your fingers or toes.

Other times this means pills, swallowed by mouth but wreaking havoc throughout the body.  Really, I have enough body fat, facial hair, and sexual frustration without the benefit of supplemental testosterone.  Maybe designer drugs don’t come with the same perils as generic pharmaceuticals.

As far as I’m concerned, voluntary doping for non-therapeutic purposes is just dumb.

© 2013 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.

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