Written for In the Bunch
These days I often rely on a “pink” tablet, supplied by my friendly neighbourhood pharmacist, to give me the competitive edge in business.
But when things get out of hand and it no longer does the trick, he raises his eyebrows and gives me a month’s supply of “blue” ones.
Both types come in a re-sealable plastic bag – not too dissimilar to the pOcpac pouch I use for my cell – with either the word “pink” or “blue” scribbled on it.
The interesting thing is that both varieties are actually white, but, other than being bemused by his coding system, I’ve never bothered questioning him about it. Ignorance is perpetual bliss.
When we first started doing “business”, I made it clear that I hated any form of medication and I even passed on it when I contracted tick bite fever.
On that occasion, I quickly came to my senses when it became evident that it would be either them (the bacteria my body was playing host to) or me that would have to move on.
Being a cheese on bread kinda guy, I never fancied ingesting anything that had been developed or altered in a laboratory until then, but it, eventually, made complete sense.
The neighbourhood pharmacist also solved my hay fever issues (with a white tablet) after numerous others had failed miserably, so he quickly became my go-to guy for any ailment I couldn’t sit out.
Even though he insists the pink and blue tablets are mild, above board and just strong enough to take the edge off, their effect is remarkable.
I sleep deeper, which results in higher energy levels and better focus – so much so that it feels like I’m enjoying an unfair advantage over my staff.
Better still, I can almost control it to a “t”: half a pink fuels me for eight hours straight at the office while a whole one sorts me out for those double shifts.
In the light of the Lance Armstrong debacle, and having experienced the effect of the mild, legal stuff firsthand, I can see the allure of being able to manipulate performance for financial gain.
If my pharmacist offered to replace my pink and blue pills with, let’s say, red ones, and if this were the only guarantee I had of outperforming my business rivals, it sure would’ve been tempting.
Let’s then reflect on the pressures of a world where one percent can mean the difference between first and second, and where finishing runner-up is deemed a failure. In business terms, it’s a world where winning relates to millions of rands and second to liquidation.
Unlike with my pink and blue tablets, chemically enhancing one’s performance in sport is against the rules and deemed unacceptable business practice for obvious reasons. My lawyer calls it “unjustified enrichment”.
Despite this – and in the wake of British tennis star Andrew Murray calling for stricter control measures within his sport – it would seem chemically enhanced business might still be booming across the sporting world.
Luckily, now that whistle-blowing is becoming fashionable, it should only be a matter of time before we know the full story.
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