Sunday, February 22, 2009


I'd thought that all the ruckus about steroids was overblown. When President Obama was asked that (inappropriate) question about Alex Rodriguez' scandal at last week's press conference, I found his reply tired and cliched (influencing young people, etc etc, setting wrong example, etc etc).

But I've changed my mind. I was in a gym locker room today, and overheard two suburban teenaged kids discussing the amazing improvement a third friend of theirs had made; how "six months ago, he looked like just a regular guy, and now he looks like somebody out of a magazine!" The other leaned close and whispered "yeah, of course the steroids helped". He said it with the same tone of awe and prurience as was once heard among young jazz musicians whispering about heroin. They knew the drug's stigma and pitfalls, but couldn't disregard the fact that so many of their heros used it. And hero worship is real, for better or for worse.

These were neither derelicts nor competitive athletes. They're shopping mall kids. This is a bad scene.

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