It doesn’t sound comedic: Getting pulled over by the traffic cop when you have ADHD. But the best comedy involves a bit of pain, right?
Welcome to two excerpts from Frank South’s brilliantly candid one-man show, Pay Attention: ADHD in Hollywood, on the Rocks, with a Twist. It overflows with hard-but-entertaining truths about some adults’ experience of ADHD.
What inspired Frank to create this show? He explains in a touching “Ah-Ha” moment. You’ll find that video below, too.
South, formerly a hit-show TV writer and producer, is now a stay-at-home dad and freelance writer. Learn more about his work at his website: Frank South
Excerpts from “Paying Attention In Hollywood”
In this scene, Frank is pulled over by a motorcycle cop. (Performed live at Santa Monica Playhouse, June 7, 2009. Written and Performed by Frank South. Directed and Developed by Mark Travis. Produced and Developed by Margaret South. Lighting designed by Kathi O’ Donohue.)
About Frank’s One-Man Show
More about the show, performed live at the Santa Monica Playhouse in 2009, from a review in the Santa Monica Daily Press (“One Man Show Is A Real Ordeal“):
No matter how endearing you might find Frank South to be, spending two hours with him is a real ordeal.
He paces, he twitches, he rages, he apologizes, he laments, he speaks in non-sequiturs, and he fights with his personal demons. In short, he displays vividly the ailments that have afflicted him for a lifetime: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), hypomania (part of the cycle of manic depression), alcoholism, short-term memory loss, and issues with authority.
South brings all this to the stage of The Other Space at the Santa Monica Playhouse in a one-man show called “Pay Attention: ADHD in Hollywood, On the Rocks with a Twist.”
The “twist” is that, between episodes of working as a waiter, South was one of the most successful television writers in Hollywood. Among his hit shows were “Melrose Place,” “Cagney & Lacey,” “Fame,” “Hill Street Blues,” and “General Hospital.”
To demonstrate his typical behavior, he begins his story in 1964, when he quixotically signed up to appear in his high school’s spring talent show. Which was unfortunate, he tells us, because he had no particular talent.
But, unfazed, he decided he could teach himself to play guitar in time for the show. And then he reveals one of the major components of ADHD: “If something is really important, I don’t pay attention.”
So he never learned to play the guitar, but he showed up for the talent show anyway, delivered a rambling rant, and totally humiliated himself. In that experience, he says, he learned that “shame and pain are great teachers.”
The Ah-Ha Moment Behind the Show
In this video, Frank explains the inspiration for creating this show—and all the other ADHD-themed work to come.
At the end of a 20-year career writing TV, I was diagnosed with ADHD then got sober.
However, I didn’t want anybody to know about it. I was lost until my wife said “Stop hiding. You’re a writer… Write about it.”
See Frank Elsewhere on the ADHD Roller Coaster
You’ll find other posts sharing Frank’s wide-ranging talents, including Stories from an ADHD Dad: Frank South on Growing Up Undiagnosed
First published Oct 17, 2015
6 thoughts on “Frank, ADHD, And The Traffic Cop”
Aw, thank you, Gina. Your generosity is amazing and much appreciated. (Plus your smarts, energy, perception, etc and your big open heart.) Really, thanks. Best, F.
Thank you, Frank — Looks like we have a mutual admiration society. 🙂
I just added tow more videos to this post!
Yes, a bit painful to watch. Yesterday, DH seemed a bit distractable.
I would ask him, “are you ok?” He said he didn’t know.
I said, “who knows if you don’t know?”
He said, “I don’t know. It’s like my brain is thinking about something, but it won’t tell me what. When I try to use it (such as to pull out a name or other fact), it just doesn’t work and it makes me so frustrated.”
I can barely imagine what it would be like to not have control over your brain’s thoughts. I realize there’s always something going on in the background, but when that becomes the foreground and prevents you from functioning, I can agree with him, must be terribly frustrating.
He’s on his meds. He’d be so much worse without them, but still, I feel sad and frustrated that I can’t help him more.
Perhaps it’s time to go further than ADHD treatment, and to look into other health aspects—food sensitivities, vitamin/mineral deficiencies (including Vitamin D), sleep, and exercise.
And, you know I’m going to mention those videogames; they do mess with the brain.
Maybe make incremental changes…..
We’ve talked about exercise. He’s putting in more fuel than he spending, so getting fatter, which in turn causes hip/knee/ankle pain, which in turn makes him not want to move.
I also cannot convince him that vitamins/supplements need to be taken on a on-going basis. He thinks he should only take them when if feels like he needs them (sheesh).
His brother gave him a smart phone for his birthday and so now his face is in his hand a lot. He says he’s not playing video games as much, which I think is true for the moment, but if he finds something that grabs his interest, I think he’d be back in.
We’ve never been able to get his sleep schedule onto a regular track and many, many things have been tried. I’ve just given up.
We’ve spent about $2,000 out of pocket this past couple of months on mostly his teeth and there’s so much more that needs to be done…..sigh.
I’ve lead this horse to water many times, but he’s just not that thirsty. 🙁
I understand, Penny. The trick is making ’em thirsty. And sometimes that takes a lot of effort.
I just would hate to see you become overly burdened.
That hip/knee/ankle pain can become worse without movement, and then more weight compounds the problem. It does not get better from there, sorry to say. 🙁