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Green Mountain Roids

12/28/07 7:55AM By Philip Baruth
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(HOST) In light of the Mitchell Report on steroids, the Rutland Herald polled coaches and trainers in Vermont - and found that the problem was not widespread in the state. But the poll led commentator Philip Baruth to imagine a scenario worthy of Jose Canseco: what if the Presidential candidates in New Hampshire all used steroids, and Vermont was the source of their Juice?

(BARUTH) I don’t know where you were when the Mitchell Report on steroid use hit, but I was in the weightroom, working through my last superset of hack-squats, my quads pumped up like a couple of cantaloupes.

I remember feeling a twinge of guilt, but nothing major. Sure, some A-list reputations were about to take a hit - Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens - but I figured those boys paid their nickel and they took their chances.

But when the Rutland Herald took a poll and found that the steroid problem wasn’t widespread in Vermont, I couldn’t help but laugh. And a really hollow, bitter laugh at that. You thought Jose Canseco had stories? I got stories.

Because I don’t just use steroids personally, I sell them, and I mean I sell them to the people who really, really want ‘em and really, really shouldn’t have ‘em.

That’s right: Presidential candidates. White House hopefuls.

I’m the guy who hooks all the candidates up with the roids, the juice, the clear, the pumpers, the stackers, the so-called anabolic mochaccinos. And all of that gym candy moves right through sleepy old Vermont - where nobody’s paying too much attention - and across the border to New Hampshire, where the klieg lights are always on, and your serious candidate wants to get pumped and stay pumped.

Look, I don’t want to name names but - Mitt Romney. Looks awesome, doesn’t he? The guy’s chin dimple could crush a walnut. And remember last spring, when Romney told reporters that he’d been a lifelong hunter, but then it turned out he’d occasionally shot at what he called "varmints" at his vacation home in Utah? Please - that was the roids talking.

No one even uses the word "varmint" unless steroids have warped their self-image to the point where they see themselves as Yosemite Sam.

And it wasn’t all Republicans. I did my share of reaching across the aisle, believe me. Take a look at game films of John Edwards circa 2003. Sweet and smooth as pecan pie. Now run some footage of Edwards today. Guy looks like Jimmy Carter’s head set down on Sylvester Stallone’s body. MSNBC reported that during a 25-minute speech a few weeks back, Edwards used the word "fight" 12 times - and told the crowd that his mill-worker father was the one who taught him how to "kick butt."

Can you say hyper-aggression and feelings of invincibility?

But like Mark McGwire, I'm not here to talk about the past - I’m here to be positive about this subject. What’s done is done, and it won’t do anybody any good to prosecute a little guy like me, who was just doing his part to help Democracy get huge.

The people you should really go after are those folks in New Hampshire, the voters who force the candidates through the diners and pancake breakfasts and the town hall meetings seven days a week, 24-hours a day for two full years, with YouTube ready to roll footage any time you mispronounce a single solitary word.

Who wouldn’t need some help with all that craziness?

Those people out there are - animals.

Philip Baruth is a novelist living in Burlington. He teaches at the University of Vermont.
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