Monday, December 03, 2007

Mykel's Column for MRR 297 Feb. '08

You're Wrong
An Irregular Column
for MRR 297
by Mykel Board

If you're really devoted to your calling, you can expect the worst.

I didn't plan on writing about sports. I HATE SPORTS, except baseball, which isn't a sport. It's a game.

But, I was madder than a Yankee fan at the end of last season. News articles-- a ton of 'em. Barry Bonds, the greatest homerun hitter since Hank Aaron... or Sadaharu Oh (look it up!). And the stupid papers complain about steroids. More, a New York One News “snap poll” finds that 60% of the respondents think that the hero “should go to jail.”

Here's a guy who sacrificed his body, took risks, rose to the top. A real baseball man. And look what happens. Jezus fuckin' Ruth.

While seething at this injustice, my Yahoo screen flashes. Click here for the latest news:

   The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has annulled all sprinter Marion Jones's results dating back to September 2000. She won five medals, including three , in Sydney but they will be re-allocated by the International Olympic Committee. Jones is to serve a two-year ban after admitting she used steroids.
       The federation has also recommended that the other members of the relay teams be stripped of their medals. Gold and silver medals won by Jones at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton will also no longer be recognized.
       The United States Olympic Committee says they will abide by the IOC's decision on relay medals and not appeal.

If I hadn't hated the Olympics before, this would have been the butterfly jump that broke the camel's ankle.

SCENE SWITCH ONE: It's the fifth grade. Little Aiden Schwartz sits quietly at his desk but not for long. Nothing is for long with Aiden. His tussled blond hair defies every comb to challenge it. His clothes are more tears than cloth. Now, Aiden raises his hand.

“Teacher, teacher, can I go to the boysroom?”

“You just went,” answers the teacher.

“But I was drinking a lot of Evian that Mom packed with my lunch. I gotta take a piss.”

From the back of the class come snickers. From somewhere else, a loud farting sound.

The teacher, a slightly chubby woman, in her early 50s, is just starting to feel comfortable in the half glasses she peers over to look at the boy.

“Young man,” she says. “We don't use that language in school. Is that what your parents taught you?”

“You don't need to be taught that you gotta piss,” he says.

“Out!” says the teacher, pointing to the door. “But not to the boysroom-- to the principal!”

It isn't long before a dejected Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz sit in front of that administrator, Ivan Rinsky. He's a big guy. His blond hair, high cheekbones and barrel chest show his Slavic roots.

The Schwartz's squirm in their seats. Small, Jewish-looking, they know Aiden is a problem. He's a smart boy. Loves to read. But he's a trouble maker. In class, he stands too close to the girls. He chases after smaller boys, and picks fights with bigger ones. He's rarely without a broken bone. Never without a bruise.

The boy loves exploring. Loves adventure. He's thirsty for new experiences, new thrills. He loves learning, trying, experimenting, testing the limits. He never has enough.

“Our school psychologist has examined Aiden,” says the principle. “His diagnosis is ADD. That's...”

“We know,” says Mrs. Schwartz. “We've suspected it for a long time.”

“It's a disease,” says the principle, “like diabetes. But it can be treated. I have a prescription right here...”

SCENE SHIFT TWO: It was a horrible hurricane. 120 mph winds. Struck the coast like Barry Bond's bat. Worse than a tornado. Houses wrenched from their foundations. Flipped over. Torn apart. Scores dead. Among those was Mildred Wenchpot, a 27-year-old bride-to-be.

A thousand miles away, Herbert Pudnick watches the devastation on his hotel room TV. He does not yet know his betrothed is a soaking pile of dead meat. He does know that things look grim.

Phone lines are down. There's no way to contact anyone. Herbert is helpless. He sits on his bed, mouth hung open, barely understanding the destruction of his city-- his life. Absentmindedly, he runs his hands through his thinning hair, digging his nails into his scalp. Sweat pours into his eyes. He's not sure if he's crying.

A heaviness seizes him. Like nothing he's experienced before. It would take more energy than he has in his entire body just to move his little finger. He stares at that finger. At the flaking skin around the knuckle. At the tiny hairs that grow from the back of the first joint. It doesn't move.

“I can't take it,” he thinks. “I'm going to die. I know I will. It's just the hope that Mildred might need me that keeps me alive.”

Six months later, Herbert is a wreck. Somehow he's managed to get to his sister's house in Rockford Illinois. He doesn't remember-- or care-- how. He hasn't left his sister's couch except to piss and shit-- and not always for that.

His sister, Fortuna, is a usually jolly woman, about 35 with a svelte athletic body and tremendous breasts. Today her smile looks forced. She enters the living room with a man Herbert wouldn't recognize, even if he had the capacity to recognize anyone. The stranger, tall and thin, has a dark complexion over European features that makes you guess Indian. He's dressed in a conservative suit, and carries a small bag.

Fortuna kneels besides the couch. She gently strokes a loose strand of thin hair from Herbert's forehead.

“Herbie,” she said, barely louder than a whisper. “This is doctor Goupal. He can help you.”

Herbert rolls on his side and moans. “I just lost my wife, my future, everything I've lived for. My life is ruined. You can't help me. Just leave me alone”

“I understand,” said the doctor, subtlety moving Fortuna aside, taking her place next to the bed.

“When we are depressed,” continues the doctor, “we think it's our own fault. We think it's because of life's little problem and vicissitudes...”

He pauses dramatically, “it's not that. It's chemical. It's just like diabetes. Your body doesn't produce the right amount of serotonin. Here, take this pill. It will help make you all better.”

SCENE SHIFT THREE: This is real: (

Arkansas, 1979, the year Bill Clinton became governor: The state sentences Charles Singleton to death on a murder charge. He spends more than 20 years on death row. The problem? Charles is psychotic.

In the 1920s, Clarence Darrow showed that it was even worse to execute schizos than to execute regular people. Would you kill a 2-year old who picked up Dad's gun and playing, pulled the trigger? Of course not. Why? The kid didn't know what he was doing. The same with schizos. But the Arkansonians, in a typically American thirst for vengeance, sentence this guy to die.

Here's the catch. For the State to legally kill someone, that person has to be aware of what is happening to him. If Charles is kablooey, they can't execute him.

What does the state of Arkansas do? They force him to take drugs to control his symptoms. That makes him appear normal, so they can execute him. Arkansas law says that the government can force people to take drugs “only if it's in their best interest.”

The local court rules that drugs “make Singleton feel better” and are thus “in his best interest.”

He's executed in 2004.

DENOUEMENT: Get it? This is a pill-popping society. Too sad? Take a pill. Too happy? Take a pill. Too lethargic? Too active? Eat too much? Shop too much? Don't fuck enough? Take a pill. Your sickness saving you from death? Take a pill.

Along with violence and God, pill-popping is the all-American solution to every problem. It's as American as a cluster bomb. How can anyone blame athletes for solving their problems with a pill? (Or an injection, just a pill in liquid form.)

Barry Bonds didn't CHEAT. Neither did Marion Jones. Unless you consider every American on some prescription Pfizer profit-maker a cheater. If you took steroids would you run as fast as Marin? Hit as many home runs as Barry? You bet your Prozac you wouldn't. That takes skill and talent and training. That's there, drugs or not.

More than that, all athletes know the risk of using the drugs. They know roid-rage, the shrinking testes, the heart attacks. Still they do it. Why? They want to win! What else are sports about? It's the only thing!

Blame these athletes for steroid use? That's as hypocritical as Bill Clinton telling the Columbine kids that violence doesn't solve problems while bombing the crap out of Yugoslavia. People who live in glass bathrooms shouldn't throw shit. Clean your own medicine cabinet first!

When general society says that people can solve their problems-- without the use of chemicals-- then maybe it'll have the right to condemn those who use chemicals. When we create a place where winning isn't the only thing, then maybe we can complain when someone really wants to win. When the quick response to I can't, is no longer, you should take something to help you, then we can grumble about those who DO take something.

Until then, to Barry and Marion: this Lude's for you! In my book, you're winners. And that's the only thing.

ENDNOTES: [email subscribers ( or website viewers ( will get live links and a chance to email comment on the column]

--> Must've been a Christian dept: The Black Frog Restaurant, in Minnesota was famous for its SKINNY DIP. Docked in Moosehead Lake, the restaurant is perfect for those with a love of water. Evening diners eager for a swim and a bargain were – until recently – welcome to peel off their clothing and jump into the lake’s chilly waters. Those who did, got a free sandwich, called, a SKINNY DIP.
         Leigh Turner, the restaurant owner, found out about a single complaint against the practice. It happened when he tried to renew his liquor license. If he’s formally asked to stop allowing his clients to have their bit of naked fun, there won’t be any more free Skinny Dips served in exchange.
        John Simko, the Town Manager for the area, apparently was contacted by the only person to have visited The Black Frog and complained. Because of this, Simko has suggested that the Police Chief talk to Turner about the sandwich deal. If that happens, it’ll be a fat chance that anybody will be earning a free Skinny Dip in the future.

-->Wishful thinking kidnapping dept: My pal Bob sent me this:
          Nothing is moving north or south on the Chicago Expressway. A man knocks on the window of one of the blocked cars.
          The driver rolls down his window and asks, "What happened? What's the hold up?"
         "Terrorists have kidnapped Hillary Clinton, Rosie O'Donnell, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. They are asking for $10 million ransom. Otherwise, they are going to douse them with gasoline and set them on fire. We are going from car to car, taking up a collection."
         The driver asks, "On average, how much is everyone giving?"
        "About a gallon," he answers.
    (I wudda left Rosie O'Donnell out of the joke.)

-->Bad enough to be in Indiana dept: Last month, I asked you to write to my jailpal Kyle Noneman Since that time, he's been transferred. Here are the new details:
          (Write to this guy! He's lonely and in the former home of Timothy McVeigh... the Oklahoma bomber. His fellow prison mates are REAL SCARY!) Find out the details: Kyle Nonneman, #68528_065, United States Penitentiary, PO Box 33, Terre Haute IN 47802

-->I'm international! dept: New Zealand Customs has a list of "Indecent Publications" at:
          These are banned from entering the country. ABUSED AT ATTICA, one of the porno novels I wrote for hire in the 80's, is on the list! Yeah! Somehow, I feel that makes it all worthwhile.

-->From the folks who brought you Hiroshima and Nagasaki dept: I got an offer to subscribe to FREE INQUIRY magazine. I guess it's a magazine for atheists, kind of a support group.
           What caught my attention was the offer of a free book with my subscription: CAN SCIENCE HELP US TO MAKE WISE MORAL JUDGMENTS?
          The implicit answer is YES!
          Besides the atom bomb, we've got steroids, smart missiles, poison gas, and iPods. Wise moral judgments?
          Might as well read the companion: CAN RELIGION HELP BRING PEACE TO THE WORLD?
         The answer to both: yeah, right.

-->Didn't scientists invent those bottles? dept: You buy everything in them. From water to Tennessee whiskey. Plastic bottles. If you're using them because you don't like the idea of aluminum cans causing Alzheimer’s think again.
           Prevention Magazine says that BPA, a chemical in plastic bottles, leaks into the liquid they hold. Studies show that after several days mice exposed to BPA develop insulin resistance. That means diabetes! And how many of those have YOU drunk from. I'll take water, thank you. From a glass.

-->It sounds like a porn movie dept: I nominate Pomegranate Blue as Spurious Health Drink of the Year. And yes, it comes in a plastic bottle.
           The label shows a picture of a pomegranate with a few blueberries lying artistically next to it. The name, like the label combines those two fruits.
           The motto at the bottom of the label: JUST A TAD SWEET.
           Now, check out the ingredients:
           Number one (after water) is SUGAR. Next comes grape juice CONCENTRATE.
          Only then do we get pomegranate CONCENTRATE. Not real fruit...
          There are no blueberries at all. The closest is second-to- last "organic blueberry flavor." What is that? The chemically-made taste of organic blueberries?
          Oh yeah, the real kicker, the name of the drink company: HONEST ADE.

-->Bend over pahdnah... sheh sheh dept: The Chinese national language registry has added a new term: duan bei. It literally means "broke back." But the current meaning of the slang word is "male homosexual."

-->Aw come on! dept: New York Metro reports that the City Council wants to raise fines and jail penalties for guys who expose themselves in the subway. Fines would be raised from $500 to $1000 dollars. Maximum jail time goes from 90 days to a year. OK, that's not news.
What is news is the headline the newspaper used for this war against flesh exposers: STIFFER LAWS EYED FOR CITY FLASHERS... Yowsah!

-->Kyle, my jailbird pal sent me a clipping about Kansas City police who are investigating a 20-year old who tried to flush her newborn kid down the toilet at McDonald's.
         The woman was discovered when workers saw she didn't return from a restroom visit. They called the cops who discovered the flush. Unfortunately, the kid survived, and will grow up to mug you or invade some classroom with an AK47. Can you imagine entering the world that way? And then some Xian is gonna say, YOU ARE LOVED.

-->Kyle also sent me info about Jack McClellan, a pedophile with the balls to call himself one. He has a website: that tells about his likes and dislikes. He's never been convicted of a crime, but somehow that didn't stop a California court from issuing an injunction against him. Stay away from playgrounds! A court action, for a website! Long live freedom of...

-->Money from the war dept: Not THAT war, but the right-wing invented "War Against Christmas"
            The American Family Association brought in more than half a million dollars selling buttons and magnets reading "Merry Christmas: It's Worth Saying." The Rev. Jerry Fallwell's (R.I.T.) (Rest in Torment) Liberty-Counsel took in more than $300,000 pushing a "Help Save Christmas Action Pack."
             The Alliance Defense Fund sold a similar kit for $29 a pop. It consisted of two buttons and a document called "The Memo that Saved Christmas," supposedly legal advice for those who want more Christmas in public life.
            One thing missing, however: examples of government hostility toward Christmas. With so little go on, most organizations had to gripe about language used by privately owned stores and businesses. Pretty lame.
            Oddly, none of these groups complained about the White House's 2006 Holiday card, which did not once mention "Christmas."

-->Used to be called CHEAP dept: These days everyone and his enterprise are being ECOLOGICAL. 20 years ago, the same actions would have been called CHEAP!
            Some hotels participate in something called PROJECT PLANET. They write on a door tag: "The Project Planet program is an effort of this hotel to protect the environment through conservation of water and decreased use of detergent. If you are staying more than one night, as part of the Project Planet program, we will launder your linens every three days."
           If that doesn't get you to feel good about sleeping in your own dirt, let 'em throw in the guilt!
         "If you would prefer not to participate in this program, simply hang this card on the outside of your door and linens will be changed today."
         Umm, excuse me, Mr. Hotelman, if I'm “saving the planet" by not using water and detergent, what am I doing for you? How 'bout a discount, bub!

-->But I can carry my six-shooter dept: The National Coalition against Censorship reports that Boris Mills, a representative from Texas, the state with the most executions in America, removed two works of art from an exhibit in the Capitol Building in Austin. The Representative complained about the pieces which showed a lynching and a man tied to an electric chair. He said they were "offensive." Maybe the rep needs to chill out. I know a pill that'll help him.

-->It's a tiny one dept: For this column I've used a free internet program called tinyurl (available at The program translates very long URLs with lots of number to SHORT urls that fit on one line. The end result is the same.



Chris said...

Great column as always! The only bad thing about tinyurl is the fact that you have no clue where you are being sent when you click the link... said...

I also has the balls to say that this guy is a rebel.