I am on my way to Oprah’s studios as we speak, so that I can finally confess to the world what everyone who knows me already knows: I took performance-enhancing substances when I was touring France. Yes, it was over a decade ago when I was last there, installing new hardware and software in a Kodak manufacturing plant in Chalon-sur-Saône. (Sadly, the factory is now demolished. C’est la vie.) But I owe it to my fans and supporters, not to mention all those who donated millions to my non-profit and for-profit endeavors, to finally admit that my on-the-job performance was enhanced by my sampling the regional wines from Auxey-Duresses, Mersault and Givry, as well as le café wherever it was served.
Oprah, I have to tell you the tear-jerking truth: it was not really work to go to work for Kodak in Chalon-sur-Saône. The factory cafeteria offered wine by the carafe, which was enjoyed by employees without shame. After lunch, most would walk up to the espresso machines, insert their tokens, and step away with a respectable demitasse of the brew, which they would consume in about a minute while standing around a tall bistro table. Oprah, I wanted so much to have another cup, but I was taught that the French only take coffee once a day. (I assume that this was to avoid detection by the authorities.)
It may sound lame, and I know there is no excuse for taking performance-enhancers, but everyone else was doing it too. I mean, how could anyone in France deny himself the wine, the espresso, the pain aux raisins? You knew you would feel better and perform better if you did it, and so you did it. I had a smile on my face every day I was in France. God help me, Oprah, I would gladly throw away all my titles and records to do it again.