I have an admission to make.  Last year, in an effort to maximize my abilities as a columnist, I contacted an outlaw friend of mine and asked him to provide me with the designer steroid known as “the cream.” 

I met him on a dark street corner a week later, and he gave me a large white container that had the label torn off and that was filled with a white, pasty cream.  From then on, every time I needed more of the cream, I would arrange another secret meeting with him.  

My hope was that this illegal drug would give me an unfair advantage over my fellow writers.  I was sure that fame and fortune would soon follow, and I was not concerned about the impact the drugs would have on my health. 

Designer steroids have recently received national attention as the focus of a federal investigation.  It has been reported that baseball players Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds have admitted the use of “the cream” and another steroid known as “the clear” to a federal grand jury. 

I’m sure that it’s just a matter of time before the federal probe catches me in its web.  Hopefully, at the very least, my experience will finally convince newspapers to test their writers to be sure that everyone is writing “on the level.”  

To be honest, I wish that I had never gotten involved with “the cream” in the first place.  I didn’t experience any dramatic improvement in my writing, nor was I able to dramatically improve the speed with which I wrote my columns. 

The only noticeable benefit of “the cream” was that it seemed to completely eliminate dry skin.  It actually made my skin feel kind of nice.  I started out rubbing it on my forehead, to give it easier access to my brain, and noticed immediately that dry scalp was no longer an issue. 

I then tried it on my elbows, and just like that, my dry, scaly elbow skin was a thing of the past. 

There was a very strange side effect, as well.  Whenever I walked out onto my lawn, or watched golf on television, I became hungry.  Mowing the lawn would produce an almost insatiable hunger in the pit of my stomach.

I continued to use “the cream”, however, because I was convinced that I would eventually begin to see improvements.  I tried to exercise my brain by reading Shakespeare, attempting difficult crossword puzzles, and copying words out of the dictionary with a pen and paper, but to no avail. 

There was also an overwhelming sense of guilt.  I was a cheater.  If anyone ever found out, I would be subjected to an incredible amount of public scorn and ridicule.  My family would be forever shamed. 

Finally, I couldn’t take the pressure any more.  The next time we met, I told my dealer that I wanted nothing more to do with him and his wretched cream.  I told him that I was thinking of turning myself in, and that he would most likely be implicated in the scandal. 

He laughed in my face.  He told me that he had been selling me large quantities of something called “Udder Cream.”  He encouraged me to call the authorities and to tell them all about it.  He then told me that I would be making a fool of myself. 

Clearly, he’s in denial.  Why would the authorities care about the brand name of the cream I was taking?  I promised that I would try to keep his name out of it and went on my way, happy to finally be drug-free. 

I appreciate the fact that this newspaper gave me an opportunity to tell my side of the story.  To all of my readers, I would like to apologize for using “Udder Cream” in an attempt to be a better writer. 

I can proudly say that I have stopped all use of the cream.  Scaly elbows are a small price to pay for a clean conscience.