Essays and recollections after decades in the penalty box by Tom Calhoun...P.A.-Announcer for the St. Louis Blues and Gateway Grizzlies.
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
A Mind is a Terrible Thing
-In perusing the headlines today, I came across the pitiful story of Leif Garrett. For those who weren't around in the 70's, this guy pretty much had the world as his oyster for several years. Here's a wiki link if you need a little background. Anything he did was big news to the teen mags and the screaming hordes of young girls of the day. He had "the look" that most guys wished they had. See vintage pic at right. And underneath...his drugged-out mug of today.
What made Leif Garrett go from that to what he is now is probably going to be made into a movie some day. That some day will likely be after he finally succumbs to whatever demons are currently operating inside his head.
Today he was arrested by L.A. County sheriff's deputies on a downtown Los Angeles train platform. They said he was sweating profusely and shaking uncontrolably. Garrett, now 48, told the officers that he "gets nervous around law enforcement because of his prior experience". He denied having any drugs and allowed the deputies to search him. But then informed them that he was hiding black tar heroin in his shoe. He has been in and out of jail and dealing with drug-related problems for a number of years. Amazingly, he also has kept somewhat busy in show biz despite his acknowledged drug habits appearing on several reality TV shows and doing voiceovers and such.
How is it that so many young performers end up like this? People who have fame and fortune thrust on them at an early age seem to, more times than not, find a way to screw up their lives. You don't need me to list them.
Leif "on the farm" pic is from his official website leifgarrett.net where he apparently is still trying to sell his music.
I'm no psychologist, but it seems it must have something to do with a poor sense of self and an inability to maintain a connection with one's real identity in the face of failure as a celebrity. The mind has convinced them that they are the person that everyone fawned over and oh-so loved as a performer. And when the spotlight fades, all that's left is the real person...and some of the money to spend on whatever makes them have a better feeling about the real self. Did they not know that they were living a false reality in show business? I guess not. Its interesting. At least to me.
One also has to wonder what awful suffering Garrett's family has been put through watching the guy self-destruct. I'm sure their lives will be as important to the eventual movie as his. I just hope that somebody gets ahold of him somehow and is able to help write a happy ending to the guy's story. Seems unlikely at this point.