Monday, November 3, 2008

Death of a Salesman

By his own account, Willy Lowman (as we'll call him) was your typical high school jock.  Athletically inclined, he was a solid performer on the football and baseball teams.  Friendly and outgoing, his ability to make friends made him a natural networker.  From high school he went on to college, where majored in business with a minor in frat parties.  After graduation he started a career in sales, where he used his charm and charisma to make connections and land the big contracts.  He drove a fancy car, lived in a big house, had a growing family.

Willy told me this as he cracked jokes and asked me about my family.  Searching for personal connections, Willy was ever the salesman, even after downing shot after shot after shot before getting behind the wheel and flipping over his beloved car.  In between recollections of his past slipped admissions of previous binges, prior accidents, failed rehab attempts, and alcoholic family members.  He lamented how he tried to hide his problem from his three young kids, and how it became increasingly difficult as they grew older.  He worried that his wife would pack up and leave.  And he cried, when he learned that his license was being taken away, over the loss of his car and the end of his life as a salesman.  

Easy as it is to complain about drunks overcrowding the ER, it's tough to learn the individual stories and see first hand how alcoholism can destroy people's lives.

1 comment:

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