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I Feel Like Judy Garland Without The Studio Contract, Voice And Mickey Rooney

Updated on May 24, 2010


While I supposed I could meditate or go to a yoga class, during times of extreme stress I tend to medicate. Now sometimes it’s with Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies or sometimes even just a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks (which I’m convinced has mood stabilizers in it) but recently I took to some pills to sleep only to find that in the morning I needed coffee to even make it possible for me to lift my head up to see my computer screen at work. As always I have to put the whole thing in terms I can understand and so I began to think about the old Hollywood studio system and how they reportedly worked Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney into the ground, rehearsing and shooting them for 18 hour days only to give them downers to sleep for a few hours and then waking them back up after two to three hours sleep with some uppers and starting the whole thing over again. As I tried to pry my eyelids open one morning “Jonesing” for a fix of coffee to wake me up I thought, “I feel like Judy Garland without the studio contract, voice and Mickey Rooney – Don’t Get Me Started!

For those of you ready to throw me into rehab I can assure you that what I’m taking is all prescribed medication and that I don’t take it every night. (Does that sound like every drug addict on the Intervention show or what?) I used to work with a guy and when we would travel on business I would swear by Tylenol PM, when you go from time zone to time zone your body never wants to be asleep when it needs to be and so I would always use some Tylenol PM to get me to sleep so that I was worth something the next day. My co-worker would say, “Neely, get off the dolls!” (Please see the movie or book Valley of the Dolls to understand this reference). And although I’ve moved on from the over–the-counter solutions  to things like Ambien (which always sounds like the Steven Spielberg film company, Amblin so somewhere in my deluded head it makes me feel like it must be safe if you can connect ET to it – it’s definitely the Ambien talking).

Ah Ambien, whoever invented this didn’t do as good a job as the guy who came up with the all the crazy things that Ambien can supposedly make you do. There have been reports that Tiger Woods used it for his crazy sexcapades, some people claim that it made them go to their refrigerator in the middle of the night and act like a bear in a campground eating everything in sight. Some get night terrors from it (which makes me think of people with the covers pulled up under their chin with red circles around their eyes just screaming into the night in a paranoid fit). But for me, for the most part, it just puts me to sleep (that I know of) but since I’m a six hour a night sleeper at the most, when the alarm rings and I start my day I feel like George Jetson moving on some modern conveyer belt taking me to feed the cats, shower, shave and coif all while still only having barely one eye open. I do wonder how the scented candle and crystals under the bed people do it, wondering if they don’t have a better idea than mine as I drive to Starbucks with the sunglasses firmly in place like a celebrity avoiding the paparazzi managing a semi-smile for the girls behind the counter as they say, “The usual?” And I grunt or simply nod my head as a response.

So is this modern day cycle of uppers and downers I’ve created for myself (coffee in the morning and then Ambien at night) the same as the Benzedrine induced days of Judy Garland under the supposed slave driver whip of Busby Berkley trying to get all of her steps right while lip syncing to her own recordings while hitting her marks to be in the camera shot? There’s a part of me that wishes it was. There will be no premier when I’m done with this “production” that seems to never have an end date of principal shooting, just another day to face and another caffeine portion to ladle down my gullet to ensure that I can “Put on a show” for everyone in my life. No score by Rodgers and Hart, no snappy chorus girls and boys to back me up and no chance of my show being preserved on film for all eternity. Still, I think it’s best I get off the junk, the “dolls” before something really bad happens, like I start getting depressed (one of the side effects from Ambien) of is it too late for that having re-read this entry? I feel like Judy Garland without the studio contract, voice and Mickey Rooney – Don’t Get Me Started!

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