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The Latest on Testosterone

A while back I wrote a column on driving in Texas in which I noted many differences between Texas drivers and drivers from other states. Last week I discovered another difference. I might have assumed it was an anomaly, but it happened twice in one week so it must be a new Texas driving phenomenon.

My good wife Lynn and I were driving down I-45 to Houston. We were cruising along about 81 miles per hour, a speed that state troupers tend to ignore and, although most other drivers pass you, it still allows you to make pretty good time.

I was driving in the right lane, sometimes known as the slow lane, when two pick-up trucks approached from the rear, side by side, doing more than 100 miles per hour. I braced for the impact but it didn’t happen. The white truck in the fast lane passed me on the left while the red truck passed me on the shoulder, which technically is not a lane at all. I’m not making this up; it really happened. Three days later I was going down the same interstate to the airport and it happened again. This time the red truck passed on the left and the white truck passed on the shoulder. Different trucks, but the same circumstances.

This is obviously dangerous and probably insane behavior. I suspect that these drivers will be involved in accidents that will take them out of the gene pool, hopefully before they have a chance to reproduce. I wondered how, or even if, such behavior could be explained. I found out by doing an Internet search. I discovered a report that really answered the question, “What makes these people crazy?”

The research was done by Dr. Oliver Bolivar and Dr. Ralph (Teeny) Weiner of the University of Loachapoka. Their research report appeared in the Journal of Abstract Medicine just recently.

Here is their report.

“This study is one of a series of research projects dealing with that very important hormone, testosterone. Testosterone is the most important male sex hormone in the group known as the androgens. Using cholesterol as a base, the male sex organs (sometimes called nomads) produce between 4 and 10 mg of testosterone per day. This stuff is responsible for three major functions in animals.

1.The development of secondary male sex characteristics, including growth of body hair, deep voice, aggressiveness, sexual behavior, etc.
2.Promotion of the protein biosynthesis. (Accelerates muscle buildup etc.)
3.Inhibition of the gonad regulating cycle, including the hypothalamohypophysial testicular axis, which regulates the amount of testosterone produced in the organism.

The latter function is the focus of this research project. We examined ways to stimulate the production of testosterone and looked at the consequent behaviors.

Subjects--We selected a sample of 60 young men between the ages of 18 and 26. These were normal, healthy subjects although 3 or 4 looked like “sissy boys.”
Testing procedures—We studied the testosterone levels collected at 6 different time intervals before the experiment started. We computed the baseline level of testosterone for each subject and used it for comparative purposes later. The average testosterone level was 4.5 mg.

We then applied a number of suspected “testosterone stimulators.” The first of these was exposure to photographs of attractive, but scantily clad, females. This increased the average testosterone level to 5.1 mg.

The second was stimulator was putting the subject in an extended-cab pickup truck with oversized speakers and particularly big tires. This increased the average testosterone level to 5.8 mg.

The third stimulator was placing a “Caterpillar” baseball cap on the head of each subject. This increased the level to 5.1. We then tried a modification of this stimulator. We allowed the subjects to turn the ball cap around backwards. To our surprise this stimulated testosterone levels to 5.9 mg.

We then wondered if there was an interaction effect or cumulative effect among the stimulators. We put the subjects in the big pickup truck with their ball caps on backwards. This produced testosterone levels of 9.1 mg. If they were allowed to actually crank up the engine of the truck, the testosterone level shot up to an amazing 10. 3 mg.

Conclusion—It is obvious from this study that the interaction effect between the positioning of baseball caps and the introduction of young males into pickup trucks has a salutary effect on the production of testosterone.”

I personally found the results of this study very intriguing and wanted to find out more about the possible consequences of Drs. Bolivar and Weiner’s study, so I called Dr. Weiner.

Don Ramon—“Dr. Weiner, this is Don Ramon. I write a column for The Huntsville Item in Huntsville, Texas, and I am very interested in discussing the recent research project you did with Dr. Bolivar.”
Dr. Weiner—“Hello, Don. I’m always happy to talk to someone about our very important research.”
Don Ramon—“What would you say is the most important implication of your study so far as real world application is concerned?”
Dr. Weiner—“Well, there are two very important implications. One, this study would suggest that if a young man with his ball cap on backwards were driving down the interstate in a large pickup truck and was passed by another young man with a ball cap on backwards in a large pickup truck the two young men would have no choice but to see who could go the fastest.”
Don Ramon—“You mean they would race.”
Dr. Weiner—“Exactly. It would be almost inevitable.”
Don Ramon—“That explains a lot. What is the second implication?”
Dr. Weiner—“If the young man with a ball cap on backwards in the large pickup truck had a passenger of an appropriate gender (such as a female), the brain of the truck driver under the influence of high testosterone levels would naturally assume that if he wins the race, the female’s mating drive will go into high gear and mating behavior will take place at the soonest possible time.”
Don Ramon—“I see. What direction might your inquiries take in the future?”
Dr. Weiner—“Dr. Bolivar wants to examine the possible confounding or augmentative effects of the introduction of cell phones into the study we just concluded.”
Don Ramon—“Very interesting. Thank you for your time.”

Well, I now have the answer to my burning question. My suggestion to all you readers is “beware of young men in ball caps driving pickup trucks.”