Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
It dawned on me the other day that it had been quite awhile since I wrote a column that had something to do with penises, or penii, to use the proper Latin conjugation. I consider that a disservice to my readers, in particular one brother-in-law, and I would like to apologize. I didn’t do it on purpose. It’s just that penii haven’t been in the news of late, and I’m not so obsessed with the subject that I make up excuses to write about them.
Fortunately, Bob can consider the drought ended this week in the wake of a story I found on Reuters.com featuring this unforgettable headline: “Ancient dopers got their kicks from raw testicles.”
You see, that’s not the sort of thing that a sophomoric humorist like myself can just ignore. That pretty much demands a column, doesn’t it?
So, first of all, yum. Secondly, the beauty of that headline is that it tells you everything you really need to know about the story. It tells you that athletes have always used performance-enhancing drugs, and back in the day, the PED of choice was testicle tartare.
You really don’t have to – and probably shouldn’t – venture any further into the story to get the gist of it, but of course you’re going to venture further into it, aren’t you? Because now you have to know how much of a boost eating raw testicles actually gives someone. You’d think it would have to be like drinking a dozen Red Bull-and-steroid cocktails to even get someone to consider it, right?
So you read on, but unfortunately, the testicular part of the story is only mentioned in passing in two paragraphs, as something that was “probably also seen as a sign of masculinity.” Now you’re disappointed because you want to know why the hell someone would willingly ingest raw testicles, the eating of which is not at all masculine. You were lured in under false pretenses by the headline, and you feel cheated.
Sure, it’s interesting to know that to get an edge athletes around the turn of the 20th century drank booze, snorted cocaine and injected themselves with strychnine, which you always thought was poison, but other than that, you don’t care about the history of doping in the modern Olympics, which is what the story is really about.
Seriously, though, this testicle-ingesting thing needs to be discussed at greater length. I mean, this could be a loophole for modern athletes who are tired of constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the drug testers in order to cheat effectively. In fact, I think testicle sashimi ought to be required eating for cyclists, all of whom dopes and all of whose own testicles spend countless hours in tight spandex being crushed against a bicycle seat.
I suppose the World Anti-Doping Agency could develop a test to check for the presence of testicular matter in athletes’ bloodstreams, but I don’t think WADA could consider testicles a banned substance, could they? Yes, testicles are things that should never be bitten hard enough to break the skin, but they’re not drugs. They occur naturally.
Besides, if you declare testicles a banned substance, lots of cultures could claim you’re discriminating against them since testicles are part of their heritage. Why, just think of all the Mongolian athletes and fans of Rocky Mountain oysters who could be affected by such a ruling. It’s positively unfair, I tell you. Let them eat balls!
Granted, it’s not likely, but if testicles somehow become the next big food trend, I personally can’t wait to see how long it takes Bobby Flay and Mario Batali to open restaurants based on balls, not to mention how long it takes savvy hipsters to start spending thousands of dollars a pound for imported saygak testicles from Uzbekistan.
I, myself, will never actually eat anything with testicles in it because it’s likely to be too expensive, but I imagine Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse can come up with all sorts of fun, nutty recipes if given the chance. Talk about kicking it up a notch. Bam! Your soup’s got some balls now, doesn’t it?
However, I would caution female celebrity chefs to keep one thing in mind when preparing testicular-based dishes: portion size is still of utmost importance, even when it comes to balls. People still want to feel as though they’re getting value for their hard-earned money, so never, ever serve testicles cold. Any guy who has ever swum in a chilly pool can tell you why.
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Aspen City Council’s recent actions are proof that you get what you pay for, argues Elizabeth Milias in her Red Ant column this week.