Putting Some Muscle In The Law

TO WIT

July 07, 1991|By Dave Barry

Ask yourself this question: Are you a guy of the male gender If so, I advise you to report to prison immediately, because you are violating a federal law.

I base this statement on a letter I got from alert reader Richard Watkins, M.D., who sent me a shocking medical document concerning the federal Anabolic Steroids Control Act. Steroids, as you know, are substances that some guys put in their bodies in an effort to develop bulging, rippling, sharply defined muscles like the ones Michael Keaton wore in "Batman." This is foolish, because women are not attracted to rippling, sharply defined muscles.

Women prefer a type of male physique that is known, in body-building circles, as: "the newspaper columnist." This is a softer, more rounded, aerodynamic shape, similar to the one used in the popular Ford Taurus station wagon. This physique has inspired a whole line of mature-guy casual pants, which go by the name "Dockers" because it was not considered a shrewd marketing move to come right out and call them "Pants for the Bigger-Butted Man."

But back to steroids: They have bad side effects, although it took medical researchers many years to discover this. They'd get a bunch of steroid users together and say, "OK, anybody having bad side effects, raise your hand!" The steroid users would strain and grunt like water buffaloes in labor, but due to their extreme muscularity they couldn't raise their hands above their waists.

The result was that medical researchers had no idea what kinds of problems steroids were causing until one day when they happened to ask for oral responses. Then they discovered the awful truth: Steroids can cause men to develop thick Austrian accents. This is what happened to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was actually born and raised in Topeka, Kan., and spoke like a regular American until he used steroids to build his body up to the point where he was legally classified by the U.S. Census Bureau as "construction equipment."

Today of course Arnold is a steroid-free person with a successful career as a versatile film actor who has played a variety of roles, ranging from a large man with a thick Austrian accent who throws bad guys off apartment roofs, to a large man with a thick Austrian accent who throws bad guys off hotel roofs.

So anyway, the government is cracking down on steroids. I thought this was a fine idea until I got Dr. Watkins' letter. "Here I am," Dr. Watkins writes, "sitting around in my doctor suit waiting for an emergency to happen, and suddenly I get a memo: On Feb. 27, 1991, testosterone was declared a controlled substance, like heroin."

My immediate reaction was to think that Dr. Watkins had been wearing his stethoscope way too tight. But it turns out he's telling the absolute truth. With his letter, he enclosed a document from the Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, listing various types of anabolic steroids now controlled by the federal government, and testosterone is on the list. I swear I am not making this up.

This is a big problem, because many guys, including several known Supreme Court members, are walking around with testosterone in their, um, possession.

They can't help it. As Dr. Watkins put it, in medical terminology, testosterone is "a substance exuded by your you-know organs, hereinafter your Ralphs."

In small quantities, testosterone produces only mild side effects, such as the inability to stop pressing the channel-changing button on the TV remote control. But at higher levels, testosterone causes destructive male behavior, the two most terrible kinds being:

1. War.

vTC 2. Do-it-yourself projects.

It's a well-known fact that a male with even a moderate testosterone level would rather drill a hole in his hand (which he probably will) than admit, especially to his spouse, that he cannot do something himself. I personally have destroyed numerous perfectly good rooms by undertaking frenzied testosterone-induced efforts to fix them up despite the fact that I have the manual dexterity of an oyster. Hundreds of years from now, archaeologists will look at my home-improvement projects and say, "This civilization was apparently wiped out by a terrible natural disaster involving spackle."

So we see that the criminalization of testosterone is a good thing. I'm not sure how the authorities will enforce this law, but I imagine they'll start by arresting those with obviously excessive testosterone levels, such as Warren Beatty, the National Hockey League, Bluto and Phyllis Schlafly.

Eventually all of us guys will be arrested and placed in a rehabilitation program and they won't let us out until we pass a strict test wherein we have to hold a TV remote control in our hands and watch one show for three consecutive minutes. *

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