|Armstrong in his '70s heyday, when he served as a disturbingly pliable role model to a generation of children.|
In retrospect, we should have all seen it coming. The freakishly elongated limbs capable of extending to many times their normal lengths, the ability to contort himself into elaborate, pretzel-like configurations, the mysteriously smooth and hairless skin, the apparent lack of a skeleton -- these were not traits which Stretch Armstrong acquired naturally through genetics or learned through years of practice.
And now, finally, the truth has come out. In a highly-publicized TV interview with Color Purple star Whoopi Goldberg, Mr. Armstrong has admitted to his use of a whole battery of performance-enhancing drugs, including Rubbernol, Stretchabunch, Twistophan, and an extremely dangerous bone-softening hormone known only as "Twang." During the course of the hour-long chat with Goldberg, Armstrong also owned up to dozens of cosmetic surgeries in order to maintain his youthful appearance. Despite Stretch's repeated denials in the past, fans had long suspected the muscleman of going under the knife, especially when he re-emerged in the 1990s with an alarming new look. A simple side-by-side comparison makes it obvious:
|Armstrong in 1976 and 1993 respectively. Years of plastic surgery had clearly taken a toll.|
"What can I say?" Armstrong told Goldberg when asked for his motives. By means of explanation, Stretch spoke of his humble upbringing as the son of a Wisconsin mill worker:
I was insecure. My parents named me Stretch, thinking I was going to be tall like my dad, who was All State in basketball when he was in high school. But I was this runty little kid, you know? I was never good at sports or anything. I mean, for one thing, I had these freakish, blobby hands and feet without fingers or toes. I couldn't even hold a football, let alone throw one. Then, one day, my parents took me to the circus, and there was this contortionist on the bill. I think he was from India or Pakistan, one of those countries. Anyway, I was transfixed. I knew then and there what I wanted to do with my life. Every day after school, I'd practice my contorting. I actually did get pretty good at it -- enough to be hired for birthday parties and car dealership openings, stuff like that. But then one day, a man from the Kenner Corporation caught my act and told me that if I was ever going to make it big, I'd need some extra help. That's what got me started on the whole doping thing. I mean, I'm not blaming Kenner. I was the one who first injected Elmer's Rubber Cement into my calves and forearms. No one put a Nerf gun to my head.
A gateway drug.
The news has saddened Armstrong's fans around the world, particularly those in France, a country where he is known as "Monsieur Extensible" and has been widely hailed as an artistic genius. The Légion d'honneur is one of many honors of which Mr. Armstrong has been stripped in recent days, along with his 1976 Toy of the Year Award, his Nobel Prize for Achievement in Contortion, and a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award he nabbed during his 1990s comeback. Because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has no integrity whatsoever, though, Stretch will be allowed to keep the Golden Globe he won for appearing opposite Pia Zadora in 1982's Butterfly. He may need to sell it in order to pay the rent on the one-bedroom apartment he currently occupies in Pomona, California -- a far cry from the palatial Malibu estate he once shared with now-ex-wife Tawny Kitaen.
Indeed, the flexible image of Stretch Armstrong will likely never return to its original shape after these shocking admissions. But he is hardly alone in his use of performance-enhancing substances. Let us not forget, for instance, Underdog and his infamous "super energy pills."
Then, of course, there is Popeye and his so called "spinach."
And Captain America? Trust me, you don't even want to know what that guy has taken. It would be easier to list which performance-enhancing substances he hasn't used.
That guy's testicles? Like raisins.