(“Pointless Stories with Joe VB” is a recurring feature on HugsAndPullups.com, and was inspired by the website 750Words.com)
“A Primetime Mainline”
by Joe Von Bokern
So there’s this guy, right? He can’t stop watching the television show “Intervention.” You could say he’s addicted to it. When he wakes up in the morning, he rolls over and snatches his laptop from his desk, pulls it into bed with him, and watches full episodes online for free. When he goes to work, he brings a hand-held television set with him into his cubicle and sneaks glimpses when nobody’s around. He will plug that same little television into his car radio on the ride home and listen to the show as though it were a book on tape. This man’s name is Randall.
Randall’s wife, Helen, used to be a very beautiful woman. When she and Randall first met at community college, their intense romance was the envy of all their friends. Over time, as Randall started watching more and more “Intervention,” her energy began to falter. She grew impatient with Randall’s inability to hold a conversation at social gatherings, and would often find him sneaking off to the bathroom at dinner to watch recaps from the previous week’s episode. It took a tremendous toll on their sex life as well. Randall’s body began to swell and grow fat from a lack of exercise. His heated passion for Helen had completely disappeared, and on the rare nights that they actually attempted to make love, Randall would often blurt out the names of some of “Intervention’s” most highly publicized cases.
“Yes, Lourdes, yes!”
“My God, Kevin, you’re amazing!”
Now, after four years of marriage, every night finishes the same way. Randall ends up lying on his back with his head propped against the headboard, bathed in the pale glow of his laptop screen, while Helen silently weeps a few feet away, hopelessly curled into a fetal position and aging much more quickly than a woman of 29 should. After two or three episodes, Randall reaches over to the desk and lays his computer down for the night, leaving it up and running until the morning. Helen spends these few quiet hours dreaming about the life she was promised when she married Randall. Her subconscious delivers her into a warm, welcoming home where their three darling children can grow up. She smells the comforting aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting from the kitchen. Through the window, she sees their dogs, Jasper and Pork-Pie, rolling in the freshly mowed grass. Everything is perfect, and there is no television.
Helen awakes from this recurring dream every morning to find her fat husband rolling over to bring his computer into bed to start the day. There are no children. No dogs. The cinnamon and nutmeg have vanished. There is barely any grass left in the yard, and it certainly hasn’t been mowed in months.
There is no Randall. There is only “Intervention.”
The ritual never changes. Day in and day out.
The worst part about an addiction is that the abuser’s mind has been so warped by his or her drug, that they will often fail to recognize the incredibly harmful damage that it has caused. Addicts will cut ties with their friends and family. They will choose their drug over their loved ones. The things that used to be of interest to them are suddenly no longer important. All that matters is where that next hit comes from. It’s true for heroin addicts. It’s true for alcoholics.
It’s true for Randall Ebersol of Schaumburg, Illinois.
Tonight, at the Schaumburg Community Center, in Room B, a small group of Randall’s friends, family, and co-workers will gather together in hopes of giving him the help he needs to overcome his crippling addiction. They’ll assure Randall that they still love him very much, and that they miss him. His mother will tell him stories from his childhood. His masculine father will cry for the first time in years. A representative from a rehabilitation center will be there to provide him with the resources he needs to get better. A professional camera crew will be present to document the evening, in hopes that sharing Randall’s story with the rest of the world will help others overcome their own vices. This powerful footage will be broadcast on cable television in high definition, and it will be included in the programming of most major On-Demand television providers. Men and women of all ages will be forever changed by watching these forty-three and a half grueling minutes of Randall Ebersol’s struggle.
It will make the world a better place.