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|A couple of weeks ago, Jay and I were hanging out at Starbucks
watching the boys and shooting the shit. Jay was paging thru one of
the local "alternative" weekly papers. It's always fun to read the
personals and the "parting glances" sections for a good laugh.
He said, "Tony, check it out. There's an ad here looking for human guinea pigs." I gave him a dubious look. "No, really. Says here they're looking for `volunteers for the human trials of a new sports supplement'. What's that about? Is Gator Aid dangerous?"
"Who knows, Jay, all those jocks'll probably turn into hairy midgets when they turn 50. They usually offer some cash for participating. What's this deal?"
"Let me see. Oh, here it is. `Volunteers must be healthy men between the ages of 18 and 24. No previous sports experience required. Those accepted into the study will receive $50 per scheduled visit to the clinic. A minimum of four visits over 4 weeks will be required.' Hey, $200 bucks ain't bad. Why don't you do it?"
"No, come on, Tony. You need the cash and it sounds like its quick and easy. Come on. Are you afraid? You are. Man, I dare you! I dare you to do this!"
Jay is an idiot. He's my best friend and he's an idiot. It's true I need the cash, what with the holidays coming up and all, but I don't know: "human trials" sounds serious. Maybe I'm the idiot, but I gave in to Jay's pressure. I didn't want to look like a wuss.
Jay called them on his cell right there in the Starbucks and handed the phone to me. I stammered thru the conversation, got put on hold a few times, and finally made an appointment for the next day at the ProGrow clinic across town. Jay was laughing and making faces at me the whole time. When the call was done I tossed the phone back to him.
The next day I took the bus across town to the ProGrow clinic. I'd heard of them. They made a line of workout supplements sold at gyms and in drug stores. They were the kind of things sold in 16 oz. Bottles, with fluorescent colored lables, claiming amazing increases in energy, stunning weight loss or significant muscle gain. Since I'd heard of them, I felt better about doing it. How dangerous could it be?
The clinic was in a small medical office building. I took the elevator to the top floor. The receptionist took my name and buzzed for a researcher. I sat in the plush waiting area looking at the framed pictures of fitness models and bodybuilders that lined the paneled walls.
I didn't have to wait long. A handsome dark haired guy in a lab coat came out and called my name. I followed him down a short hall to an exam room. First, I had to strip so that he could weigh me and take my measurements. He even used those caliper things to pinch my skin at a couple of places. After I'd gotten dressed again, he questioned me using a lengthy questionnaire about my medical history and level of sports and fitness experience.
"Mr. Hume, you seem to be an ideal candidate for our human trials. Let me tell you what it's all about. We're working on a revolutionary new supplement that will change the entire sports and fitness industries. It is a fast acting genetic therapy delivered thru a liquid taken orally. The preliminary experiments with lab animals indicates that there are spectacular results with no unwanted side effects. Your body will change as a result of the therapy. If you join us, you can expect to get leaner, more muscular, more energetic and experience greater levels of sexual interest and performance."
It all sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher, "Waa, waa, waa, waa" until he got to that bit about energetic sex. That was all it took for me.
"Where do I sign?"
After I'd signed a ton of forms and papers and releases, the researcher reviewed the process with me.
"Today, Mr. Hume, you are 5'-6" tall and 140 lbs. with 14% body fat. Your waist is 30 inches, you chest is 39 inches, your thighs are 19 inches and your upper arms are 12-1/2 inches. You are statistically average for your age and height."
He continued, "We have enlisted the help of about 50 volunteers like yourself in this trial. We will deliver the supplement to you at your home this Friday evening. Please be home between 6 and 8 pm. To accept the delivery. You will take the supplement Friday evening, on an empty stomach. Saturday morning you will come here for a follow up exam. You'll receive your first $50 bill after the exam. At each exam we will determine together if you want to proceed with the next dose. If so, the next Friday you'll get a delivery and Saturday you'll come here for an exam and so on."
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