Posts Tagged ‘jeff van vonderen’s punch out’

a bunch of people who love you like crazy.

27 January 2009

friends and relatives gathered at the house, bringing along every snack known to heaven and every liquor known to hell. we shared stories and looked through family photographs, laughing often, eating and drinking a lot.

as night fell, some guests returned to their houses and hotels, leaving empty bottles of vodka and rum, two of wine, and eighteen cans of beer as reminders. my sister’s and my friends remained to finish what was left, and to watch intervention on a & e, as we have on many previous monday nights.

the episode centered around lawrence, a guy in his early thirties who owned a chain of prosperous tanning salons. throughout the day he filled large brightly-colored plastic cups with vodka. testicular cancer weakened his body, and his resolve. he had surgery to remove the tumor, but rebuked the doctor’s pleas to get frequent check ups. his torso heavily bruised, a sign of low blood clotting as a result of diminished liver function.

lawrence’s loyal employees took over the operations of his company, even visiting his house daily — bringing him lunch, reading his mail, and tucking him into bed. his younger brothers obviously admired him years before but now avoided him. at dinner, his mother skirted around his problems, frightened of the confrontation.

i always feel compelled to act antithetical to a program’s message, continuing to drink while i watch people self-destruct due to alcohol addiction, eating during a show about a half-ton teen undergoing gastric bypass surgery, having sex every time abstinence is promoted.

those familiar with the show know that following the intervention, once acquiescence is reached, the subject is sent to one of various recovery centers throughout the united states, usually in california or florida. then the davenports five steps begins to play, as viewers learn the results of treatment.

as we raised our glasses to what would no doubt be another successful journey, we learned that lawrence was asked to leave after thirty days for failing to focus on his recovery. he retuned home to las vegas, remaining sober for another three weeks before relapsing and dying due to complications stemming from cirrhosis of the liver.

honestly, i’d like to blame cancer for everything. one night, walking out of beacon place, my dad said, fuck cancer, under his breath. it was only the second or third time i’ve heard him use the f-word, all in relation to this disease. i’m against anything that can repeatedly bring a two-hundred-twenty-five-pound man to tears, so i will blame it for everything without impunity, not just my mom’s death, or lawrence’s, but war and genocide, rape and murder, tsunamis and hurricanes, and my sixteen-hour post-intervention hangover.

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