Columns 2008

Who cares if baseball players take steroids?

Watching congressional hearings this past week, you would have been hard pressed to know there was a war going on in Iraq in which our soldiers and their soldiers and civilians continue to die with no viable definition of winning evident, or that the economy was tanking, or that my house is probably worth about half of what the government wants to assess it at for tax purposes. That’s because our leaders were too busy tackling the obviously much more important problem of steroids in baseball.

I’m still not sure why the government is spending my tax dollars on this issue.  As I ready my 2007 tax papers, I am tempted to add a note at the bottom asking them to please refrain from using any of my money on this subject.  I won’t because I have an accountant who continually tells me the IRS simply does not have a sense of humor about these things.

I don’t know what was more ludicrous, the sight of our elected representatives listening to an athlete whose head qualifies as a Macy’s parade balloon explain how he never used steroids, or hearing those same officials pontificate over how this is ruining America.  Really?  This is what you think is destroying America’s character?  Not the debate over the definition of torture in which our current attorney general refused to define water boarding as torture unless it was used on him? Not the continued existence of Guantanamo Bay with prisoners now held for over five years with no end in sight?  Not the government’s invasion of our most basic rights of privacy in the name of security?

The argument made for the need for government to get involved in this issue is that these men are heroes to our children. Every time they use drugs to enhance their performance, they influence high school athletes who might do the same.  Seriously, if a high school student’s head and neck circumferences suddenly triple over the summer, I’m thinking that somewhere along the line there should be a parent saying, “Hmmm, that’s just doesn’t seem normal, even for a teenage boy. Maybe I should check this out.” Then, the parents should go buy two walnuts, a carrot, two raisins and a string bean and use them in a show and tell explanation of the effect steroids can have on a man’s body.  I’m guessing most teenage boys would find that quite revelatory.

To listen to some athlete claim he never took enhancement drugs while his neck is the size of a semi’s tire begs the question of just how dumb these athletes are, or assume we are. Did he think he was just having a delayed upper body growth spurt?

Sylvester Stallone apparently took similar drugs while making Rambo 47 so that we didn’t all run gagging from the theater at the sight of his naked 60 some year old chest covered in oil and sweat. I can only assume that at his age he didn’t care about the shrinkage this would cause to other parts of his body because he was past those youthful urges. Or maybe he just has enough money that it doesn’t matter anymore.  Will we be having hearings into Rambo too? After all, there is no greater American hero than Rambo, who is apparently still working on a way to win the Vietnam War and save us from communists marching in the streets of Peoria.

Professional baseball players are adults who make choices. If they make choices to shrivel their genitals to the size of peas, I really don’t care. If they are too dumb to notice that the Vitamin B shots they are taking is making their butt the envy of Jennifer Lopez fans across the nation, then they need a guardian assigned to them way more than Brittany does. But none of that is the business of our government. If these people truly are our children’s heroes, then I’d say that some parents in this country need to not spend so many Sundays in a chair in front of the TV cheering them on.

Our housing market is in the toilet, faith in this country is at it’s lowest ebb in decades, kids are taking guns to college and going wild, and America stands on the cusp of a history making election. But our congress is holding hearings on whether Roger Clemens’ butt is just the result of middle-aged spread.

What is wrong with this picture?