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using steroids


using steroids

Scott Bahlmann

Dear M,

A sensationalizing opener, I know, but it’s completely true. I’m using steroids. I blame Meryl Streep.

It began after I saw her playing the witch from Into the Woods. I left the movie theatre, and noticed on the walk home an odd swelling in my finger joint. Later that evening there was an abrasive looking patch on a different finger, and some odd bumps between the joints on other digits. Only my right hand was affected though, the left hand left uncursed.

You may be wondering what this has to do with Meryl Streep. Well, during the film (slight spoiler alert) she transforms from a gnarled old woman to a more beautiful younger self, and the only thing I can figure is she cast out the gray hairs and gnarled fingers onto the captive audience! Somewhere, someone has an unexpected crook to their nose, and another person has found themself with a sudden limp. I got misshapen fingers.

Now, typically I would agree with your skepticism. Surely I must have unknowingly banged my hand on something, or its an early onset arthritis. Well, the only trouble with every explanation webMD was able to provide is the complete absence of any pain. Looking at it you’d suspect otherwise, and quite a few people have. The only affect to my functionality is restricted mobility, I’m sure do to the extra space being taken up in my knuckle by Meryl’s curse.

And also, there is the bizarre appearance of the little bumps. Even an isolated mystery could be dismissed with some ease, but each finger having a single appearance of slightly varying anomalies? It’s just not natural. That’s what my fella’ thought too, but he was determined to find an alternate cause and made me promise to see a doctor about it.


I figured I’d give it a week to decide if it was interested in self-reparation. It wasn’t so I had my fingers poked and squeezed and prodded and caressed by the very nice Dr. Merrill, and the other doctor he called in for a second opinion. Various ideas were tossed about, herpes being the most notable, but they were all confounded by the complete lack of pain, and the lack of an inciting incident.

The verdict settled upon was dermatitis, which essentially means the skin didn’t like something it came in contact with, and decided to rebel. So my knuckle is behaving like a little bird fluffing all its feather to look big and impressive, hoping to scare away the big bad whatever (now with the help of some doctor prescribed steroid ointment. Told you I was using!). Even so, there is still no known reason for it to have flared up. No change in skin care products, or odd interactions with anything. And there usually dermatitis is accompanied by itchiness or some irritation that is lacking from my scenario.

So I’m sticking with the curse idea, and I just hope whatever magic Meryl has is scared of steroid cream.