This Is Your Brain on Meth

Unreal catches up with a crystal-meth cooker gone straight, chats with an Andrew W.K.-endorsed candidate and gets local businesses' take on gay marriage; plus we totally freak out about West Nile, and Bill Haas offers something for the ladies

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 Life series 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 In May of 2002, his probation was revoked.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. "

Calling Card

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.

How hard, exactly, do you party?

[Laughs] I don't party quite as hard as Andrew W.K. I'd like to think that I could live up to his level of energy, but I think that's impossible given his stage performances. I don't know how he does it.

Whose endorsement would you rather have, Andrew W.K.'s, or Margaret Cho's, who endorsed your rival Mike Evans?

Andrew W.K.'s. That's a no-brainer for me.

Do you think gratuitous photos of bloody noses should be banned?

No way! I am anti-censorship, so I thought that was pretty ridiculous that they put that black band around his album.

Do you consider it a conflict of interest to take money from a guy who's done Coors Light commercials, when in fact the city you hope to represent depends largely on the industry of Anheuser-Busch?

Anheuser-Busch hasn't given me any money, so I don't feel bad about it at all. Whatever he has to do to get the message out that it's okay to have a good time, so be it.

Which Third District candidate do you think '80s cock-rock icon Kip Winger should support?

You know, I would just leave that up to each individual rock icon to make up their own mind. Because that's really what my campaign is about: providing the information to let every voter and every rock icon make up their own mind.

Bill Me

After a few years of masturbating solo, I seem to be having some difficulty reaching climax with my new boyfriend during intercourse. I feel like I'm not able to relax and let it happen with someone other than me at the helm. He is very interested in satisfying me and keeps asking what I would like for him to do, and I do not have any answers. Any suggestions?

Bill Me

Sex for two is different from sex for one -- not always as good in some ways, but better in others. But although in general the saying is that you have to take responsibility for your own orgasm, I've never been sure it's always that simple. You need a willing partner -- and it's a great sign that yours is interested in pleasing you.

You refer to him as your "new" boyfriend, so it's natural for you to take a while to relax with him. Sometimes it takes as long as a year. As for not having any answers, you're going to have to do better than that, now aren't you, honey? If you don't know what feels good for you, how is he expected to? Sex is definitely a team sport.

You specify "during intercourse." I'm assuming you've tried woman-on-top (supposedly the easiest position for most women when it comes to coming). How about oral sex? Him touching you during intercourse? Touching yourself during intercourse? (Some guys like that!) Or touching yourself after intercourse? (Some guys don't like that -- but would you really want to be with one of those guys?)

If it just turns out that you came more easily with past boyfriends than you do with this one, it's something you might both have to live with. Would that bother you? Not a good sign for the relationship, but better to accept that than to deny it.

Finally, try to keep in mind Mae West's philosophy that when sex is good it's very very good, and when it's bad it's still pretty good.

Address matters of love and lust to [email protected], or stamp and send to Bill Me! c/o Riverfront Times, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63130. You can also call 314-754-6411 and leave a voicemail -- but only if you promise to speak in a sultry bedroom voice.

Once Bitten

"People should be taking steps now to protect against what could be another deadly West Nile season," screamed a June 7 Post-Dispatch article bearing the portentous headline, "County urges caution on West Nile virus as mosquitoes swarm."

So when one of the little vampires plunges its proboscis into Unreal's neck, we do what any red-blooded St. Louisan would do: panic. The state isn't spending $2.3 million this year on West Nile for nothing, is it? Why, last year alone there were 64 verified cases of the disease -- and that's just in Missouri! Eight of those cases were fatal! Who cares if the majority resulted in a headache or muscle ache -- we've got a budding pandemic on our hands!

Still hyperventilating, we put in a call to Washington University microbiologist Michael Diamond, who commences hollering, "Evacuate! Evacuate!" and then keels over in the throes of a hysterical seizure.

Actually, Diamond is surprisingly calm.

"Flu is a more dangerous virus to humans overall, certainly," he soothes. "There's not even a comparison in the numbers worldwide."

Turns out that when compared epidemiologically to other diseases, West Nile is a featherweight of the viral world. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 70 percent of the 9,862 cases of West Nile reported in the United States last year were diagnosed as West Nile fever, a mild form of the disease that results in flu-like symptoms. The real flu, meanwhile, hospitalizes 114,000 victims annually and kills 36,000. (West Nile killed 264 people nationwide in 2003.)

"We pay a lot more attention to it because it's mosquito-borne -- people get worried because they get bit all the time and you can't do anything about it," Diamond says. "We see mosquitoes and we just don't know if that's the mosquito that has it or doesn't have it."

By all means, drain the birdbath. But while you're up there cleaning the gutters, keep in mind that you're far more likely to fall off that ladder than to contract the dreaded West Nile.