March 2001

Testosterone Transfer

Frankly, the testosterone experience has been far less dramatic than I projected. My lurking in the shrubbery was quite a lot premature, and all I got out of that was a few scratches and a slight sniffle.

do have more energy now after a few days on it. And the last few nights I have had really vivid “action” dreams. Not “that” kind of action, but rather wild physical activity. E.g., in one of them I was brachiating in trees, like Tarzan but fully clothed. First we dream…

I entertained myself a couple of days ago by reading the medical literature enclosed with the testosterone gel, and to answer everyone’s first question, the application site is the torso. Actually, they’ve done a good bit of testing with this stuff. In one test, “the couples engaged in daily 15-minute sessions of vigorous skin-to-skin contact so that the female partners gained maximum exposure to the application sites.” (I get this image of the couples surrounded by white-smocked lab technicians with clipboards and stopwatches rating the vigor.) Unfortunately, all the female partners showed at least twice their baseline serum testosterone concentrations afterwards, which is not good at all. Further testing revealed that wearing a tee shirt to cover the application site would “completely prevent transfer”, which is highly recommended unless you want your wives and/or girlfriends to gradually become more masculine.

And yes, the literature does mention increased libido as one of the effects. But seriously, there are layers of irony here since I have just now reached an age at which I can comfortably view no libido as a blessing. I mean, what would I do with a libido if I developed one again? Join a gay wrestling club to get some of that “vigorous skin-to-skin contact”? Actually, I suppose I’d become very popular at the wrestling club as all the guys gradually noticed that that the longer the match went on, the somehow…strangely…better they’d feel.

No, no, this wouldn’t work at all because then there’d be the spectacle of those out of my weight class pleading, “Couldn’t we at least hold hands?”

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Time and Testosterone

I really liked my former doctor and was much upset when he decided to leave town. However, my new doctor is proving even better. In the first place, she’s just as delightful to talk to and, it turns out, is a Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market maven like me. I look for her every Saturday now at Mrs. Hoffman’s booth.

But she’s more than delightful. She’s really on top of things. At my first appointment with her last month she signed my request for a handicap parking placard but sent me off for some more blood work, speculating that perhaps we could get me walking better so that I didn’t need the placard, a possibility that in my despair I had not even considered.

Well, she’s so overbooked that her next available appointment was not until next Tuesday, but yesterday afternoon I got a call from this pleasant guy who identified himself as her HIV pharmacist. They’d gone over my blood work and decided that my crushing fatigue is the result of a dire shortage of testosterone. I have just picked it up and shall smear myself with it and crouch in the shrubbery, pawing the ground and snorting softly while I await the appropriate passer-by.

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The Stars and Bars

My sister and I were recently back in the Piney Woods of East Texas for Mother’s funeral. On US highway 59 on the northern outskirts of Nacogdoches, there’s a nondescript warehousy-looking building, its finest feature being a very substantial, very tall flagpole. My sharp-eyed sister spotted a problem, though. Proudly displayed at the top was a gigantic Confederate flag and beneath that a middle-sized Texas flag. No US flag. The kind of place where you could go sit on sacks of ammonium nitrate and discuss problems with minorities. Makes me gag to remember that I volunteered for the Army in the early sixties to preserve these people’s liberty.

LATE NOTE: In July of 2008 I was notified that the Confederate flag was no longer being flow at that location. I consider that progress.

This outrage reminded me of a spectacular quotation I recently ran across. Max Liebermann, on a fine Spring morning in 1933, as he looked out his apartment window at the Sturmabteilung parading down Unter den Linden, said:

Ich kann nicht so viel fressen wie ich kotzen möchte.

This was translated in the Threepenny Review as “I can’t eat enough to vomit as much as I would like.” But this seems a bit roundabout and glosses over the difference between essen and fressen, the former reserved for humans and the latter for animals. How about “I can’t gobble as much as I would like to vomit.”

But this loses the emphasis on the sheer quantity of vomit (at least up to the tops of the jackboots) that one would want to spew forth. So I submit from my friend Jim (whose Turkish, incidentally, is even better than his German owing to an indiscretion of his youth) “There is no way I could ever eat enough to produce the vomit the sight required.”

Oh well. This language play is practice for an increasingly likely month of May in Amsterdam. I need a break, and picking on a minor language somehow seems just right. What with the number of repetitions it takes to pound anything into my memory, I’m clearly not going to develop a large vocabulary, but I have high hopes of getting an acceptable pronunciation.

And yes, when the Aliens land and can speak only Dutch, won’t you be happy that I’ll be able to save us. The grateful populace will strew my path with rose petals as they acclaim me President for Life, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, and Protector of the Unilingual.

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