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Spoofs & Satire

Photograph by Andy Kriebel

The Blame Game

Flipping through A-Rod’s catalog of the perps who caused him to take steroids.

“You know, many nights I fell asleep thinking about who I can blame, and this guy, or that guy. And when I woke up I kept coming back to the same person; it’s me.” —Alex Rodriguez, discussing his steroid use

November 18

It was Mom, right? It’s always the mom. She hugged me too much, or not enough, or she kept me in diapers too long, or she nursed me wrong. I read an article once about a woman who nursed her son until he was seven. Can you believe that? It’s disgusting, but maybe a little sexy. The kid just walks right up, points at the nipple, and asks for it by name. There’s a club in Toronto that I went to when you can do pretty much the same…ZZZZZZZZZZ

November 19

Okay, not Mom. I tried. Could it have been Dad? I mean, there was that one time he caught me playing with matches and spanked me. They say that physical abuse like that can splinter the ego, and that a splintered ego can lead to steroid use. Well, some of them say it, I’m sure. And I did wet the bed until I was 28. I mean until I was eight. Jeez, it’s easy to lose track of these things when you’re on the edge of slee…ZZZZZZZZZZZ

November 20

Could it have been Madonna? I mean, I didn’t even know her then, but I knew of her, and she represented something unattainable, and when you want the unattainable, you are likely to take extreme measures, and those might include….ZZZZZZZZZZZZ

November 21

I think I have it! I should blame Pedro what’s his name, that guy from Leones del Escogido that I played with in ’94. He was a reserve catcher. Pedro Gomez? Pedro Lucas? That’s it, Pedro Lucas. I clearly remember him coming up behind me and jabbing his finger into the back of my leg. “One day this will be a needle,” he said. “Despite your prodigious natural talent you’re going to believe that you need help staying on top, and your lack of character will allow you to rationalize using performance-enhancing drugs.”

That guy was pretty incredible. He also told me that Clinton would get into trouble because of an intern and that Mel Gibson would get drunk and say inappropriate things to a Jewish cop and that Madoff would steal all that money, though he thought his name would be “Maynoff.” Wait. Does that mean that he caused my steroid use or just that he predicted it? Can you blame someone with psychic abilities? It seems a little unfair, on the face of…ZZZZZZZZZZZZ

November 22

Why not just blame my cousin? That would be the simplest thing, right? He led me to boli during those loosey-goosey days. It’s not the strongest excuse, but it has an elegant simpli…ZZZZZZZZZ

November 23

What about Loosey-Goosey? Not sure if he’s real, but it could have been his fault. Or hers. Is Loosey-Goosey a girl?…ZZZZZZZZZ

November 24

Jeremy Piven?….ZZZZZZZZZZZ

November 25

Howard K. Stern?…..ZZZZZZZZZZZ

November 26

Heather Mills?…ZZZZZZZZZZZ

November 27

Joe Torre?…ZZZZZZZZZZZ

November 28

I’ve been expending all this energy each night trying to think of someone to blame, and then I wake up in the morning wondering if in fact the problem might be me. Could I be right? I mean, I’m usually right, but could the morning me be more right than the nighttime me? It reminds me of something I overheard at a topless club the other week. A girl was telling her friend that she met a guy who made her do drugs, and the friend said, “Come on, Patricia. You’re an adult. You do what you do because you want to. Take responsibility for yourself.” Then they both did a line. I thought about that for a long time then: minutes, at least. Strippers are so wise. Many of them are working their way through college, you know. This is a hard world for young women. Maybe I should take responsibility for myself, like that second stripper said. In that case, then the steroid use would be something I chose because I put myself before the integrity of the team, before the integrity of the game. In that case, I would…ZZZZZZZZZZZ

November 29

Simon Cowell? Barbara Bush? That “Give Me Back that Filet-O-Fish” Fish from the McDonald’s commercial? O.J.?….ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Ben Greenman is a contributing writer for the New Yorker and a bestselling author whose books includes both fiction (most recently, The Slippage and What He’s Poised To Do) and nonfiction (Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You, with George Clinton; and Mo Meta Blues, with Questlove). More by Ben Greenman