I was always a very short kid. On top of that, I had a speech impediment. I couldn’t say my R’s. Let me tell you, for a kid who goes by the name Corey, life was proving to be very difficult. Every time I would meet someone new I would start to have a mini panic-attack. My hands would get clammy, my breathing got heavy. Oh, I also have asthma, but that’s beside the point. It was very stressful for a kid. For the longest time, my classmates thought my name was Cowey. I remember being pulled out of recess to go to speech therapy. And nothing is worse for a seven year old than spending your recess time indoors with a elderly woman forcing you to say, “Railroad workers raced to the river.”
Needless to say, I was a dorky looking kid. I always knew that but when I got to fourth grade, I found out it was medically proven. I have vague memories of my parents pulling me out of class to go to the hospital. I had 13 hospital visits in just the first semester of school. Almost every week I would go to the hospital, sit in a bed with a tube hooked up to me, and watch TV on the wall to distract myself from the blood leaving my body. The worst part was my parents never told me why. I mean, I never cared to ask, but in the back of my head I was always curious. Why do they keep bleeding me out like this? Do my parents owe a debt to vampires? Am I part of some cult?- - Oh look, Spongebob!
Finally, I couldn’t take the mystery any longer. I turned off the TV and asked my mom, “Do I have cancer?” My mom’s Spongebob induced smile faded away, “No, honey. It’s not that.” Phew. “Well, what is it?” I asked her. My dad called the doctor in and she told that for the past few months they had been running tests on me, she then explained to me that I have a growth deficiency. Essentially, my body isn’t producing enough growth hormones. The doctors knew it, I was a dork. Not only did this mean that I would remain very short, it also meant that as my organs continued to grow, my bone structure would not. When I asked the doctor what that would be like, she asked me if I had ever put too much play-dough in a mold. Suddenly, my head was full of graphic visions of my intestines exploding from my belly, and my lungs oozing out between my rib-cage. While they explained to me it wasn’t fatal, it would still cause some major problems in my life.
Fortunately, there was a solution. I could give myself growth hormone (basically steroids)! Well sweet, sign me up. I’m ready. How we doing this? Pill? Magic potion? Gonna zap me with a laser? Unfortunately, it came in the worst possible form for a kid. Injection. With a needle. A big needle. A big needle that had to go into my body. Every. Single. Day.
Another downside was that this injection cost $18,000 per year. When my dad first heard the price, he turned me and asked, “So what’s it gonna be? Tall or college? I better be 7 fucking feet tall if I’m paying this much. It worked out though, because my dad worked for the company that made the injections. My dad works in pharmaceuticals, but as a seven year old, I was not able to say such a complex word as farm-uh-sue-tickles. You know, can’t say my R’s. So instead, I would tell people, “My dad’s a drug dealer.” This proved to be quite entertaining. My teacher would awkwardly laugh at what I had told the class and then try to change the topic by saying something like, “Well, good for you. Why don’t we move on to Joshua’s dad. Isn’t he a firefighter?”
His dad was a firefighter. What’s cooler than that? I was already a dork, but now this? I got demoted to the lower ranks along with Ian and his dad who worked at a Denny’s. It didn’t help that I hated sports either. My dad, of course, thought it would be good for me to try a sport. And try, I did. I tried almost every sport known to elementary school children. But once I started the injections, I had an excuse. You see, apparently, steroids are frowned upon in the sports community. And once I found that out, any time I was asked to participate in a team sport, I would just yell, “I take steroids!” It was the perfect out.
So maybe I didn’t play sports and maybe my dad wasn’t a firefighter but he did get me free drugs. Because of that, I was able to be tall and go to college. Too bad since I’ve stopped, I’m only 5’8” and a college dropout.