Now that Mark McGwire has admitted taking steroids and been cheered for it I feel it’s time for me to call a press conference, come clean and get it off my (now barreled) chest. I know now that I shall never enter the Hall of Pharmaceutical Fame.
Yes, it’s true, I did take steroids in the twilight of my pharmacy career to improve my typing and counting speed. My natural endowments were fading. I was confusing A.C.E. inhibitors for Ace bandages. I didn’t know Sloan’s Liniment from Doan’s Pills. There was no pop in my mortar and pestle. I had lost my savoir faire, my je ne sais quoi, my moxie and my mojo. Who knew what the competition was up to across the street. Word had leaked that the chain stores were filling faster and their pharmacists all wore extra large size smocks. I was only trying to level the pharmacy field.
On anabolic steroids I could answer three speaker phones at once, count and pour and crush grapes with my toes. I could memorize package inserts and recognize hundreds of customers by their telephone voice.
I was part of a great tradition. Was it Coleridge’s pen or opium that gave us Zanadu? Did Fitzgerald ever write without absinthe in his bloodstream or Hemingway outside of Harry’s Bar? Shall we turn away from Van Gogh’s astigmatic, anguished, bi-polar sky? Who knows what was in that apple that bopped Newton on the head?
We all want to extend ourselves beyond the merely human. Think of our enhancement as human sacrifice. We traded our life, our liver, for the idolatry of the Greek chorus, the rabble who put us on a pedestal and would now put us under it. If we soared higher than Icarus they put our wax in a sweat even as we gave the sun our finger just before the fall. Now our melted wings are a cupful of pee and we are reduced to asterisks for our hubris.