Imagine, if you can, surgically implanting a softball into your bicep. Now do it again on the underside. Now the other arm. Congratulations, you’re Brazilian bodybuilder Arlindo de Souza.
De Souza’s biceps are 29 inches in circumference — or, to put it in perspective, larger than many female celebrities’ waistlines. Of course, de Souza’s biceps aren’t literally softballs, but they might as well be. The 43-year-old former bricklayer’s muscles are the haphazard result of injected steroids, mineral oil, alcohol, and a daily regimen of hormones and horse vitamins.
"The guy gave it to me. He said, 'Take this, it will make you grow in days,'" de Souza said of a man he encountered one day in the gym, according to the Mirror. "I loaded the syringe, put it in my arm, injected it and it swelled me up right there and then. To tell you the truth, I didn't feel a thing. There was sometimes a bit of dizziness but nothing apart from that.”
De Souza’s lumpy physique is pure aesthetics: He’s no stronger than he was two years ago, when he first began injecting otherworldly substances into his veins. He may even be weaker, as doctors routinely caution people against taking steroids because of the damage they inflict on muscle tissue. Users risk intramuscular abscesses — dangerous infections that result from steroids getting wedged between muscle and fat, sometimes forcing doctors to operate, or worse, amputate.
De Souza says he’s stopped injecting for the time being, though he still feels compelled to put the needle in his arm. He at least knows that any more injecting could put him in the hospital — not so unlike Gregg Valentino, whose 28-inch biceps exploded from too much growth. Welcome to the gun show.