Taking my cue from Ernest Hemingway‘s “write hard and clear about what hurts,” I have an unpleasant confession to share. Sometime around 3:30 or 4 am (i.e., the hour of the wolf) I dreamt about waiting to die on death row. Draw your own conclusions but it happened. Everyone has nightmares from time to time, but nobody in my racket talks about stuff like this. This is one of the reasons why Hollywood Elsewhere is perhaps the only film + culture + psychological excursion column worth reading on the planet earth.

It was like a string of Twilight Zone mini-episodes. Two or three minutes and fade to black, and then the next one, etc. There was some debate by the death row honchos about what mode of execution to use — injection, firing squad, gas chamber a la Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity, hanging, electric chair, guillotine or thrown to hungry wolves a la Ernest Borgnine in The Vikings. At one point I was led out to the MacMurray chamber with 20 minutes to go before they dropped the pellets, and then Sacramento approved a stay of execution.

The dream was so distressing that my left leg turned into concrete from the tension, and then succumbed to an agonizing charleyhorse. I leapt up and tried walking around to get the blood flowing, and then I used a heated vibrating muscle relaxer device that I bought a few years ago on Amazon. The death row + leg seizure double whammy was so traumatic that I decided to decompress on the living room couch by surfing Twitter and checking column typos. I crashed an hour or so later, exhausted. I awoke at 8:15 am Pacific.

I’m partly blaming the Sundance commissars along with everything else (A Star Is Born, James Wan and Aquaman worship and Jason Momoa‘s smug, shit-eating aqua-grin, the SJW twitter predators).

Life is demanding and draining and rarely relaxing, much less celebrative. The goal, of course, is to live as vividly and vibrantly and energetically as you can while you can. “We’re all gonna get there, no exceptions” — Terence Stamp in The Hit. But only a few of us can dance down staircases like Jimmy Cagney (okay, I haven’t done this over the last decade) and sing harmony on each and every Beatles song ever written and hike up super-steep 45 degree roads in the Hollywood hills (as I did last night with Tatyana), etc.