By Sam Levin
By Jessica Lussenhop
By Sam Levin
By Timothy Lane
By Sam Levin
By Dennis Brown
By Chris Parker
By Sam Levin
When an MTV crew came to Poplar Bluff in late 2001 to profile the popularity of crystal meth in southern Missouri, hometown boy Paul Gaddis agreed to participate. With the camera rolling, he openly discussed his addiction. He didn't mention that he was as high as a kite, having been on a bender for more than a week.
Nothing came of the incident until an episode of the True Lifeseries aired a few months later, in February 2002. Local police recognized Gaddis, who was on probation after pleading guilty to possession of a controlled substance, a felony for which he was sentenced to five years in prison.
Tipped off that his house was under surveillance, Gaddis stowed a sawed-off shotgun in his trunk and set off for Florida. He didn't make it out of Poplar Bluff. When his car skidded through a stop sign on a wet road, he was busted. In May of 2002, his probation was revoked.
Two years later Gaddis is again a free man. And he's pissed off at MTV and Serena Altschul, who hosted the segment in which he appeared.
"They used me," says the small-screen star, who's now 25. "It was just a setup to get what they wanted. Serena was real nice, but she was trying to get me to maybe let her know more than what I wanted to let her know. They didn't care what happened to me after it was over."
Gaddis also has his cousin Jeff to thank for his unforgettable role in True Life: I'm on Crystal Meth (part of a series that included episodes entitled True Life: I'm the Youngest Tycoon in the World and True Life: I'm Horny in Miami). When Jeff Gaddis recognized Altschul while the crew was dining at the Sikeston restaurant where he worked, Lambert's Cafe, he told the host to give his cousin a call.
"I was pretty messed up at the time, and I'm thinking this was all a big joke," Paul Gaddis recounts. "Not thinking they were [actually] coming, I ended up doing a big shot right before they got there, which made it ten times worse."
Missouri State Highway Patrol Sergeant Kevin Glaser is sympathetic. "Maybe he can get a Dumb-Ass of the Year Award or something for letting himself be videotaped in that way," says Glaser, who confirms that it was indeed the TV program that tipped off police. "MTV made everyone sign waivers, so he should have been fully aware of what was going on."
Gaddis and Glaser do agree that getting picked up was the best thing that could have happened to the former meth head. Gaddis says his weight is now up over 200 pounds, compared to a low of 165 when he was using. He says he's in the best shape of his life and plans to work construction and enroll in courses to become a registered dietitian.
MTV hasn't contacted him since the show aired, Gaddis says, but he wishes they'd have the decency to do a follow-up interview. "They only wanted to talk to me when I was messed up, but they should talk to me now," he says. "It'd be completely different. "
With Missourians set to vote in August on a constitutional ban on gay marriage, Unreal took the issue to some of the region's finest businesses. Their responses:
· House of Wong (Chinese restaurant) If they're gay, they're gay. Let them live their lives together. What's the big deal?
· Man for Hire (hauling and waste removal) No, I don't really think there should be no marryin', but that's my opinion.
· The Tenderloin Room (restaurant at the Chase Park Plaza) If they love each other, let them live happily ever after.
· The Womans Exchange (clothing resale shop) Huh? Jeez! [Click.]
· Woody's Men Clothiers (men's apparel) I'd say we're 100 percent against a ban on gay marriage.
· The Closet Factory (customized storage units) This is a place of business. I can't answer those questions.
· Two Men and a Truck (moving company) I've never heard that we have a policy against it. I guess it doesn't matter.
· Gaylord Container Corp. (box manufacturer) Oh my, you're going to have to talk to our comptroller about that.
· B.J. Meat Market (butcher)No comment.
· The Two Sallys (garden design) In life it's important to be gay-friendly as a human being. We definitely support gay marriage.
Trolling for Endorsements
Twenty-seven-year-old Corey Mohn is one of approximately eighty-five thousand candidates seeking to replace Dick Gephardt in Congress next year. He has no elective-office experience, but he does have the financial support of hard-partying rocker Andrew W.K. So he has that going for him. Sort of.
Unreal: How much money did Andrew W.K. give you?
Corey Mohn: I'm not sure if I'm at liberty to say that. His contribution is not enough to [legally] trigger financial disclosure. Plus, it was cold hard cash!
Did he actually endorse you, or did he just contribute to your campaign?
He didn't officially endorse me, no. He contributed.
Why do you think he chose you? Was it because you're the hardest-partying candidate?
Absolutely! Actually, I told him I was a fan of his, and we talked about progressive politics and about trying to get younger people involved in politics.
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