Performance: Manny Ramirez meets the Future Farmers of America
I was recovering from a four-hour erection — my caffeine buzz overtaking
last night's chardonnay-prozac cocktail — when I heard about Manny
Ramirez's suspension from baseball. The news all but ruined my Shasta
High School Chess Team drug testing victory party plans.
case you missed the incessant TV steroidal chatter, Manny
goofed visiting a doctor for what he called a "personal health issue." The
doc gave the Dodger left-fielder a medication he thought was compatible
with Section 8.G.2 of Major League Baseball's
Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. It wasn't and Ramirez is now temporarily
banished from baseball for a first drug-use infraction. Major League
drug policy requires a 50-game suspension for a player's first positive
drug test, a 100-game suspension for a second, and a lifetime ban
for a third. The thought of such stiff penalties makes me check
my supply of little blue pills and add more vodka to my Red Bull.
Chess team faired better than Manny. Under a policy adopted
by their school district last year, the checkmaters
the math club, choir, band, symphony, and Future Farmers of
not kidding) had been subject to random drug tests. Apparently
the District was fearful of the type of music, mathematics or
havoc a performance enhanced student might create. Shasta County
Superior Court Judge Monica Marlow, however, ruled that the
violated the students' constitutional rights. She granted a
preliminary injunction barring the District from enforcing the
was she when the Major League Baseball needed her?
the Shasta ruling report, the news of Ramirez's violation hit
like a crack high for the media. Manny was "a steroid cheat," a"
dope" and "a rasta-haired
drug addict." Manny profiles, Manny picket signs, Manny
apologies, and Manny slams aired ad nauseam. Meanwhile, it
clear why Ramirez took the doctor's dose of human chorionic
gonadotropin (hCG). Added to baseball's banned substance list
a year ago, hCG is
a hormone produced naturally during pregnancy. In home-pregnancy
tests, it's the positive trigger. It's also prescribed to
fertility and, on the other side of the ledger, to produce
a higher volume of testosterone in men. That's why hCG is
with anabolic steroids.
you take steroids, they turn off the body's internal mechanism
that makes testosterone," Gary Wadler, a steroids expert
told the Washington Post. "So the testicles are basically
turned off. They shrink in size, and there is a decrease
in the production of
testosterone. The way to get around that is to take something
like hCG to wake the testicles up."
Manny didn't want his balls slumbering. I can understand that.
Manny and his first place Dodgers being penalized for bedroom
problems? Or was his performance enhancer
the field of baseball? We may never know, but why should
action be limited to sports? Why not punish all performance
enhancers — farmers, mathematicians and all points in
me. I need more coffee.
nearly all writers enhance their literary performance with nicotine,
alcohol, caffeine, or schedule 5 drugs,
Performance enhancement, after all, is an unfair advantage
in the major leagues of publication. Shouldn't we
author's literary production, just like homerun production?
Are you listening
Stephen King? And what about dead writers? If we find
out they've been tweakers or poppers or snorters shouldn't
to their estates? Arthur
Conan Doyle injected cocaine; Sarah Bernhart, an actress
famiiliar with his work, huffed it; Elizabeth Barrett Browning
William Butler Yates, hashish; and William Burroughs,
used cocaine, heroin, mescaline, opium, psilocybin,
LSD and cannabis.
Grove Press stop sending Naked Lunch royalty
checks to the folks in Lawrence, Kansas at least for
what about musicians? Isn't it high time ASCAP and BMI withhold
royalties for dread-headed reggae
jazz icons, liver-impaired country and western heros,
and the rock-n-roll suicides of the not-so-distant
Shouldn't the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation
suspend its fundraising and be required to reapply
for a 401 C3?
Seriously, shouldn't anyone
who's ever copped a buzz and had a song in the Billboard
at least have an asterisk next to their name?
current policy for our performance enhanced creative society
seems to be, unless you do something
or media worthy,
a junky. That's so pre-Ramirez. I see this new
code of antidrug ethics applied across the spectrum of
right-wing talk show hosts, ponzi scheme operators,
pastors, bloggers, cashiers, Wal-mart greeters,
and so on. Put yourself at an advantage by ingesting
performance enhancing drugs and you'll be fined
and banned from your
field of dreams. But
let's not stop there.
about putting yourself at an advantage with a performance enhancing
substance like silicon.
Carrie Prejean, underwent
breast-enhancement surgery six weeks prior to
the Miss USA pageant. That surgery was paid
for by the
could possibly argue that Ms. Prejean's performance
wasn't enhanced? Aren't
we owed a little retribution and compensation?
Wouldn't it be reasonable to examine the beasts
and exact punishment
a limitless supply of self-satisfaction, legislation and litigation
waiting for us
we recognize the
spectrum of what
it means to
be performance enhanced. The whole notion
of embellishment, augmentation and enrichment is
wired into our
DNA. We use drugs to get up,
get down, feel young, grow hair, kill pain,
sleep, eat, lose weight, gain weight, fly,
for living — our salvation. In the end, what's
God but a performance enhanced mortal? I say,
get it on.
the most reasonable solution to the performance enhancement problem
is to divide
the world into
two camps — user friendly
and the other. Those of us who enjoy the amped-up
play of athletes will
be able to watch the Anabolic League broadcasting
24/7, 110% juiced-up sports to a juiced up
ceramic artists, postal workers, comedians,
real estate agents, land developers, pilots,
stay at home
CalTrans workers and all "cheater" professions
will, at long last, live modified lives in
peace, able to leap tall buildings
in a single bound, free from the forces of
he who is without enhancement, cast the first stone.
Callahan, May 15, 2009