It’s not every Monday morning that Dr. Drew Pinsky asks for my help.
An email sent just shy of 7 a.m. central time alerted me to the broadcast-medicine legend’s desperate state of affairs:
How are you? I am in a terrible situation right now and will need your urgent help. Susan and I are in Cyprus at the moment and I just misplaced my bag containing all my vital items, phone and money in a taxi.
I am trying to sort things out with the necessary authorities, I may need a little help from you.
Drew Pinsky MD
“Oh no!” I thought. My millionaire friend has misplaced his vital items and needs some spending money while vacationing in Cyprus!
I rushed to my (alternative) email account and replied:
Hey Doc, how can I help? I hope you’re getting it sorted out.
— Jim Lemons
You see, while it’s clear that the longtime host of Loveline is not actually emailing me himself to ask for money, it is true that Dr. Drew and I have met, and we have even exchanged important correspondence.
So as I confirmed on Twitter that his email had been hacked, I felt I owed my casual friend the sort of support one can only offer by heckling the degenerate cyber criminal who had overtaken his digital persona.
The fiend replied, asking for $1,300 via Western Union:
Thank you so much, I will pay back as soon as I am back home. See details needed for Western union transfer below:
Name on my ID: Drew Pinsky,
Address: 27 Karaiskakis Street, CY-3032 Limassol.
You will need to email me the Reference number as soon as you make transfer so I can receive money here. I am so sorry for the inconvenience, please try your best for me. Keep me updated.
The fisherman had taken my bait. Oklahoma political legend Jim Lemons was ready to move in for the kill:
Thanks, Dr. Drew. I’ll be sending something shortly.
I’d been meaning to email you anyway. Can you give me your advice on something? My next door neighbor told me on Friday that he is addicted to masturbation. He recently lost his job and asked me for my WiFi password, and this came up in casual conversation.
I want to see him get help. What’s the best treatment for chronic masturbation, and do you think I should have an intervention with him or just send him text messages?
Thanks for the help! Money coming soon, but please let me know your thoughts ASAP.
Alas, the correspondence ended there, perhaps because Dr. Drew had regained domain over his inbox, or perhaps because our Cypriot criminal was wise to my salacious questions about self-pleasure.
Whatever the reason, I wish Dr. Drew the best in recovering his digital dignity. As I said, he’s always been nice to me.
‘Young people have excellent bullshit detectors’
We met, hilariously enough, about 10 years ago at a “Condom Conference” hosted by Trojan in Austin. The company had flown me and a dozen other college newspaper editors into town for a weekend stay at the Driskill Hotel. We were wined, dined, given 14 boxes of condoms and a king-size bed each, and we were set loose upon the town for two nights of (ultimately tame) debauchery.
No, Scarlett Johansson is not moving to OKC by William W. Savage III
All we had to do for the company was participate in a group discussion hosted by Dr. Drew about sex on college campuses. It went well enough, and I made some journalism friends in the process.
After the weekend, I stayed in touch with Dr. Drew as effectively as someone 25 years younger than a national broadcast sensation can. He graciously let me interview him for two special editions of the OU Daily, and I transcribed the informative interviews on “safer sex” and “marijuana” verbatim for readers.
I also emailed him on multiple occasions to ask for advice on helping friends who were struggling with mental health issues. Each time, he responded. I thought that spoke to positive elements of his character: that even though his celebrity continued to grow, he was willing to offer succinct advice in times of need.
All these years later, I am now a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor. I teach the international, evidence-based course to any groups who can spare a full work day and provide the training manuals for attendees. (And, yes, I make a little money for doing so.)
Throughout the process, I often note things Dr. Drew taught me long ago:
- That those who self-injure are often survivors of sexual trauma;
- That for many habitual marijuana users, there comes a time when the drug no longer produces quite the same desired effects, thus putting the person at risk for trying/mixing other drugs;
- That public health advocates should always speak directly and honestly with youth because “young people have excellent bullshit detectors.”
So, no, Dr. Drew Pinsky doesn’t need my money today. I may not be as young as I once was, however my bullshit detector is still being tested daily in the world of journalism.
But if the good doctor ever really did need my help, I’d be there to offer it because he has done the same for me.
In the meantime, I’ll just go check on my neighbor. I suppose I’d better knock loudly.