Monday, February 21, 2005

He Stomped On The Terra

Hunter S. Thompson: "No mas, no mas."

I'm saddened beyond words to hear that Dr. Gonzo has taken his own life. While I believe it's someone's right to make the decision as to whether they live or die, it's still hard for me reconcile the man I looked up to for years for his lust for life with the tired old man who blew his brains out yesterday.

I started reading HST by purest chance: at age 14 or 15, I joined QPB, which was (or maybe still is, who knows) a sort of literary Columbia House. You got six books, I think, and promised to buy 3 more over the next three years. One of those books happened to be Generation of Swine. It was the best of the lot-in fact, I can't recall any of the other titles at all. I gave it to my dad to take on a business trip to Israel, and he came back a fan as well--his words were "I laughed out loud, in the airport. And you haven't SEEN funny looks until you start laughing out loud, alone, in an Israeli airport."

So if my political persona was in large part shaped by Generation of Swine and Campaign Trail 72 (how many 15 year old boys do you know who can rattle off the Democratic contenders for the '72 campaign?), my greater feelings of freedom to live my life the way I wanted to were probably formed by The Great Shark Hunt and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Coming out of small town Oklahoma, I was consistently impressed that this guy was not only able to get away with the things he was, but was able to make a fine living doing so. It gave me hope (in a very stressful time of my life) that you didn't have to follow the same road everyone else did.

HST was one of my idols, perhaps even more so than Buk or Bill Burroughs. News of his death last night was stunning--I just sat there for a few minutes, at a loss.

I wonder what was going through his mind--I wouldn't be surprised to hear he'd been diagnosed with cancer, or some other terminal disease. I'm disappointed to learn that he's gone out like the rest of us do, instead of sublimated directly to Hell or just plain disappearing--but the world is a much less colorful place without him in it.

I think this weekend, I rob a liquor store and go get a tattoo somewhere. I've been leery of getting HST related tattoos on both arms, but there's no question in my mind now.

Res Ipsa Loquitor, Doctor Thompson. You are missed.


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