It comes with great sadness and shame that I admit to using steroids while writing stories for Internet humor websites in 2004. Each time before sitting down to write I would inject myself with anabolic steroids. A lot of it. In fact, so much so that I couldn’t help but kick my refrigerator’s ass upon completion of each story.
While there is no excuse for steroid use, I think this tragic episode speaks to the intense pressure put upon Internet humor writers. We are expected to deliver top-notch humor pieces on a monthly basis, and that’s simply not realistic. Our lives are arduous and complex. Writing funny and clever stories with good endings that tie everything up in funny and clever ways takes a lot of us. I feel exhausted for days after completing a funny and clever story. Sometimes I’m so tired I can’t even muster the energy to make an omelette. And I love omelettes.
Yes, it’s gratifying when a famous blogger links to your story or when you receive an adoring e-mail from some nerdy grad student, but most of the time it’s a very solitary existence. Working day in and day out on your craft comes with a lot of sacrifices, like watching far less television and eating fewer omelettes.
Then there’s the intense competition that you have with other Internet humor writers. Each of us is always trying to out funny and out clever the others, and after a while the pressure to excel is so intense that you find yourself looking for anything that will give you an edge over your competitors.
That’s what led me to hire Jonathan Ames’s trainer. I figured that if I was to be the best Internet humor writer I could be, I should get trained by one of the best humor writers’ trainers. At first, he gave me tips on how to make my stories funnier and cleverer, like using fewer semi-colons and incorporating ocelots into my work whenever possible. But as time wore on I felt my stories continued to lack a certain oomph, and that I needed something extra to propel me to write even funnier and cleverer stories. Plus, I wanted to make my forearms look sexy.
The pugilist writer Jonathan Ames, a.k.a. the Herring Wonder. Photography © Patricia Sullivan & Nelson Bakerman, courtesy the subject.
That’s when Jonathan Ames’s trainer suggested I take steroids. He assured me it was no big deal and that all the big name humor writers were taking them. He also said that steroids would allow me to work faster, which in turn would allow me time to watch more television and eat more omelettes. So, like an ocelot lured into the jungle by the stench of a wounded wildebeest, I was persuaded by his advice.
Thus began my descent into the dirty, dark world of steroid-enhanced Internet humor writing. Initially it was a rush writing extremely funny and clever Internet humor stories in record time and catching up on all my TiVoed episodes of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” It was also thrilling sharing bathroom stalls with Neal Pollack and Dan Kennedy while each of us took turns injecting steroids into our buttocks. I’d never felt so powerful and humorous and clever before in my life.
But soon the side effects started to catch up with me: My head grew to the size of a prize winning pumpkin, I went for months without an erection, and I relentlessly beat the shit out of my kitchen appliances. Eventually, I came to realize that even though my body was jacked beyond belief and I had written the funniest and most clever Internet humor stories ever, I had to free myself from my dependence on steroids.
It’s been incredibly difficult, but I have been clean for over seven weeks now. Yes, some might say my work has suffered because of it, but at least I am proud in knowing that I can write without the aid of human growth hormones and that I haven’t had to buy a new toaster oven in over a month.
I hope my revelation today inspires other Internet humor writers to confront and overcome their dependence on performance-enhancing steroids. It may not seem like it now, but you’re ruining your careers; more importantly, you’re ruining mine. Your steroid-enhanced humor pieces are way better than my non-steroid-enhanced humor pieces, and it’s not fair. And I just used a semi-colon in the sentence before last. Damn it.
Finally, I’d like to apologize to my loyal readers. I wish that in time I can regain your trust and that all fourteen of you will once again allow my words to glow from the computer screens in your cubicles, dorm rooms, and prison computer labs. I pledge to write the funniest and most clever Internet humor stories a non-steroid using writer can write. Right after I finish this omelette.