Ah, spring is here: Baseball is in full swing. I pop on the tube to see what games are on.
A's v. Mariners; Giants v. Padres. So, as any true fan of Bay Area sports would do, I flip to the Mets-Cardinals game.
But as I scan the screen for Carlos Beltran and Albert Pujols, I instead find myself watching...
Four balls sitting on a locker room bench—a basketball, a volleyball, a football and a baseball.
The narrator then reads:
"Steroids can really damage your body. (football deflates)
"They can cause tendons to tear... (volleyball deflates)
"...and bones to stop growing...damage kidneys...destroy the liver... (baseball deflates)
"even cause heart attacks and strokes.
After a quick plug for drugfree.org, the commercial is over. It's a 30 second spot—barely long enough to register. But for whatever reason, it made quite an impression on me.
So much of an impression that I TIVO'd the damn thing 10 times just to write it down here accurately.
What exactly are these guys trying to say?
In English: steroids are bad for you—you being a man and all. They can do all sorts of physical harm to your body, and can even shrink your balls. There I said it: Shrink your balls. Visit drugfree.org so you can find out more about how steroids shrink your balls.
True enough, right? I mean—unless we're getting our health advice from Jose Canseco, steroids ARE indeed bad for your health, particularly if you're just a kid. And, as the wisdom goes, they can also shrink your balls.
Then again, going on the juice might also make you millions of dollars as a professional athlete.
Indeed, there comes a time in every little slugger's life when he's faced with the difficult decision of whether to shoot a needle into his butt and turn himself into the Incredible Hulk...or to take the higher road and pursue a career as a coal miner, but at least be able to have a few children before dying of black lung disease.
Mood swings, or black lung disease. Shoe deals, or shoveling coal in the darkness.
If I had one suggestion for the people at drugfree.org, it would be to stop assuming that kids are so stupid. This idea that some teenager is going to stop taking steroids—not because you warned him about dying of a heart attack, but because it's going to lower his sperm count—is just insane. And if the kid is indeed stupid enough to be more concerned with the sexual side effects than he is with the risk of his heart stopping, then hell:
And if that's the case, I kindly request that you let me watch my damn baseball game.