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CHRIS ERSKINE

For our heroes, the consequences are unreal

Fan of the house:

February 19, 2009|CHRIS ERSKINE

Bulletin: In the latest development in the growing steroid scandal, Captain America admitted today to knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs and flunking a test to detect such substances. His superhero colleague, Iron Man, a wealthy businessman whose resume includes saving the world, has also been implicated in the burgeoning investigation.

Captain America appeared on ESPN late Wednesday night to admit abusing the illegal drugs after his name was leaked from an investigation into abuse by professional athletes.

"I was young, I was naive, I was just trying to live up to superhero expectations," Captain America said in the ESPN interview.

Meanwhile, investigators continued to pursue reports that Mister Fantastic, the Incredible Hulk and several DreamWorks hippos had also abused anabolic steroids, which are legal only with a doctor's prescription. Their agent, Scott Boras, refused to address any specific allegations, but said in a statement: "Animated hippos today are under a lot of pressure. These guys are just eager to clear the air and put these unfortunate incidents behind them."

In San Francisco, a grand jury was looking into allegations that Iron Man may have perjured himself in testimony during the BALCO investigation. Iron Man, who formerly played for the Avengers, is accused of knowingly taking steroids and WD-40 penetrating oil. Sources who requested anonymity said Iron Man may also have undergone rust-proofing protection that was also illegal for men in metal suits.

But the biggest revelation of the day involved the iconic Captain America, whose alter ego, Steve Rogers, had long honed his superhero skills by taking experimental serums.

"He was a sickly young man who was just trying to gain an edge over the competition," a former comic book executive said. "Captain America has been juiced for decades."

Investigators were also looking into reports that the Michelin Man may have injected performance-enhancing drugs beginning as early as 1997. Observers had long noted dramatic physical changes in the rotund tire salesman, including a larger head and an enhanced upper torso.

In 2004, Michelin Man was convicted of assaulting another motorist in an incident on a Los Angeles freeway. At the time, prosecutors called it the first confirmed case of "road 'roid rage."

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Each day I wake up, I look a little more like Seth Rogen. My love handles have love handles. If I had any more handles, I'd be carry-on luggage. I'd be an MTA bus.

So, like many of my heroes -- A-Rod, Captain America, the Michelin Man -- I've decided to cycle a few rounds of anabolic steroids, to improve my physique and bolster performance in the highly demanding world of professional journalism.

Here's the procedure I plan to follow:

Step one: Buy syringe.

Step two: Purchase steroids on the black market.

Step three: Pay someone to inject steroids in my tookis (oral dosages are considered harder on the liver).

Step four: Enjoy the benefits of severe acne, male pattern baldness, aggression (yes!), depression (good for writers), smaller testes (yikes), higher cholesterol (big deal), impotence (oops), breasts (every guy's secret dream) and an increased risk of tendon injuries (at least that explains last month's torn schnitzel).

Step five: Take a break to let the steroids work their magic.

Step six: Begin another cycle of infections . . . I mean injections.

Man, isn't it good to be a man? From what I hear, men get way more benefits from steroids than women do. For females, side effects appear to be more limited: smaller breasts, a deeper voice, and hair all over your body. I suspect those are physical characteristics every teenage girl is seeking for herself. An ape-like exterior is a sure way to catch the attention of that cute new boy in chem class.

But those traits are nothing compared to what we men get. According to lore, Hitler fed steroids to his troops to make them even more aggressive.

Some cretins get all the luck.

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Bulletin: Marvel Comics announced that Captain America died early today in New York, after a coronary seizure brought on by medication he'd been taking to make him stronger and more invincible. He was 67.

In a long and prominent career, Captain America took on the Nazis and other wartime threats to the United States. Up until his death, he was considered in peak physical condition, thanks to a daily regimen of weight lifting and simulated combat.

His longtime sidekick, Bucky, told the Associated Press early Thursday that the unconscious superhero was carried into the hospital on his indestructible shield.

Erskine's Man of the House column appears Saturday in Home section.

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chris.erskine@latimes.com.

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