Gary Busey was voted off the Celebrity Apprentice last night and the entire process was disgusting and detrimental to the human spirit. Gary’s “Backbone” teammates — Lil John, John Rich and Meatloaf — were cruel to Gary from start to finish and it was hard to fathom why they were being so mean to a guy who had a massive brain injury a few years ago.
All season long the men’s team have taken their shots at Gary. Last night, John Rich called Gary a “saboteur” because Gary is so “sly and cunning off camera.” I don’t know what show John Rich is watching, but just watching Gary on the show, it is clear he has memory problems and cognitive issues that are greater than he admits or, perhaps, even realizes. When Gary claims he didn’t say something, and he often does — he isn’t being a saboteur or sly or cunning — he just plain doesn’t remember and there’s no malice in the not remembering; and you can’t really get angry with a guy who has no short-term memory because his brain is incapable of reliably remembering every detail. You have to deal with the brain injured with patience and understanding and not labeling them for your own endgame benefit. John Rich also needs to toughen up. If Gary called you “boy” and it ruined your day and insulted you to no end — you have an extremely pervious life that needs some hardening from your own misaligned hurt feelings.
Meatloaf played the baby card last night in the boardroom with Trump while cupping both of his breasts with crossed arms. Meatloaf rocked himself in his chair with the unholy notion that all their troubles were caused by Gary and with that bad man gone, the big baby could sleep again at night. The previous week, Meatloaf screamed at Gary for 15 minutes because he thought Gary stole all his paint when Gary did not. Meatloaf did not apologize until much later in the show and, of course, Gary forgave him.
Lil John — a strange addition to the cast who appears totally disengaged every show — only mocked Gary last night and refused to take any initiative whatsoever to help his disabled teammate. Lil John should be on the street this morning, not Gary Busey.
The most interesting thing that happened a couple of weeks ago was when Gary told the story how co-competitor on the show — and friend in real life, Marlee Matlin — noticed Gary wasn’t understanding things that were being said to him. Marlee, a Deaf woman, sensed Gary wasn’t able to hear well, so she had him visit her ear doctor. Gary was given a hearing exam, and it was discovered he had a 70% hearing loss in both ears from the motorcycle accident that caved in his face years ago. Gary thanked Marlee for helping him become part of the world again where he can now “hear toenails grow” and he wears in-ear-canal aids in both ears.
What does that story tell you about Gary’s life and the people who surround him? It took Marlee Matlin, working closely with him on the Celebrity Apprentice, to recognize something was wrong with Gary and she proactively got him the help he needed. Marlee did that out of respect and love and hard understanding of what it is like to live a real life with a disability that few people truly understand.
Marlee also saved Gary from being sent home earlier on Celebrity Apprentice by standing up for him and helping Donald Trump try to understand Gary’s multiple disabilities may hamper others in comprehending his behavior, but that in the human moments, Gary’s intentions and purposes are always pure and good.
Lil John and John Rich and Meatloaf didn’t deserve Gary Busey — they didn’t know how to best use him as a teammate — and instead of searching for a way to engage Gary for their own goodness, they instead chose to spurn him and label him and mock him behind his back where there was a much kinder and more moral path to be lighted with him in the example.
In the end, Gary left the show and told us, with a smile on his face, that he had just faced a tornado and a thunderstorm and now he was over the rainbow. That was a touching moment that let us know Gary will be alright in the end, and that he understands who he is and that he knows what he can and cannot do, and that he lives in the moment and never looks back to cry about what was when there’s so much more ahead of him in what can be.