Sunday, January 5, 2014

Crash and Burn

A book that I received as a Christmas present and read this past week is called Crash and Burn by Artie Lange and Anthony Bozza. This is the second autobiography of Artie's following his first best-seller titled Too Fat to Fish. I have liked Artie as he was one of the major players on the Howard Stern Show for about eight years. His comedic antics were some of the best parts of the show in my opinion. Anyway, after Too Fat to Fish came out around 2008 Artie started calling in sick to the Stern Show, falling asleep on the air, and admitting to his drug addictions. This time up to the present is chronicled in Crash and Burn. I remember as a regular listener wondering each day if Artie would show up for work and if so what condition he would be in. It was like a regular soap opera. At one point Artie even hired two ex-police officers to babysit him and make sure he wasn't getting any drugs. Eventually, Artie didn't show up to work for a week straight without calling in while Howard, Robin, and Gary wondered where he was and if they'd ever see him again. Shortly thereafter, Artie tried to commit suicide and hasn't been on the Stern Show since. Artie tells about all of these events in the order that they happened. It was very sad to read, but I couldn't put the book down because every time I didn't think Artie's life could get worse, it did. Without giving the story away, I will tell one anecdote that affected me the most. After Artie unsuccessfully tried to kill himself, he spent a few months in a psychiatric hospital. When he came out he was still in a deep and dark depression. His family moved him into the fancy townhouse that Artie had bought for his mother when he became rich and famous. At that time Artie only wanted to get back to his condo in New Jersey so that he could jump out one of his windows and finish the job he hadn't completed earlier. His psychiatrist prescribed sleeping pills, and Artie would smash them up and snort them all at one time. Artie's bottoming out came when he sent his 70 year old mother out to Wal-Greens to fill another prescription during a major blizzard. Artie watched from his bedroom window as his mother struggled to shovel her car out the snowbank that the plows made at the end of her driveway. There are very few funny things in this book. If you want to see how badly drug abuse can destroy one's life, this is an eye-opening book.