Monday, February 21, 2005

Mahalo, Doctor Hunter S. Thompson

“There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

One of my dreams died yesterday when one of my heroes killed himself. When Doctor Hunter S. Thompson took his life on Sunday, we lost one of the greatest literary minds of all-time. With the Good Doctor, the big thing was finding the handle. What’s it all about? For me, it was seeing what a journalist really could do.
When I first discovered Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas I was immediately hooked. It took about a paragraph of the gonzo-novel to give me a new obsession.
Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I have an extremely addictive personality and am a natural creature of habit. When I am writing, I am writing non-stop. When I’m drinking one day, I have the tendency to drink the next day. And the day after that and so on… I can thank Dr. Thompson for the inspiration.
Discovering Hunter S. Thomspon, the man the myth, the brash, gun-toting, alcohol-loving, substance-abusing genius was to truly open my eyes as to what could be done with a strong drink, a sharp sense of humor and the ability to let every single thought running through your brain to leak down your arm and out your fingers onto the blank page.
Dr. Thompson set the kind of example that made me realize it’s not only “okay” to start the day off with a drink; it’s a necessity, man.

“You better take care of me Lord, if you don't you're gonna have me on your hands.”

The most amazing passage I’ve ever read:
“Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a main era - -the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. And that, I think, was the handle - -that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting - -on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark - -the place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

When Dr. Thompson’s funeral occurs this week, I would do whatever possible to be there. Hopefully, I will be allowed in, provided I stand quietly in the back, and don’t smoke. I certainly won’t forget the fucking golf shoes.

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