Wednesday, July 2, 2008

LONG LIVE HUNTER

"Maybe there is no Heaven. Or maybe this is all pure gibberish — a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found a way to live out where the real winds blow — to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whisky, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested..."
-Hunter S. Thompson

That more or less sums up my perspective on this life of mine. For better or worse, Hunter S. Thompson has always loomed large upon my consciousness, perhaps before I even read "hells Angels" for the first time back in high school, and certainly since.

My Mom once told me about her experience when she heard that JFK had been killed - how that moment held the air still around her, slowly etching the memory into her mind that even today, is no doubt just as fresh.

A similar moment in my life occurred amidst a cold, dreary night on February 20, 2005. Feeling properly loose, I put on some music and checked my e-mail, only to stare back at the screen in shock. Ex-Roomie had sent me the link a CNN article reporting that Hunter had shot himself in the head.

"No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won't hurt."

That excerpt from his suicide note hit still makes my heart skip. At the time, I felt not anger, but rage. Why on earth would someone so in command of his gravity decide to off himself? I cried. Then I did a huge shot of whiskey. Then cried more still.

A vital link to a time seemingly more genuine time than the present had expired - at the business end of a Smith & Wesson (how American).

For days after I was filled with...dread, a feeling I carry with me to this very day in one form or another. Three years later that feeling is less acute, though a sense of duty to carry on his legacy remains.

Which brings me to the documentary that is premiering, appropriately enough, on Independence Day...



"Some may never live, but the crazy never die."

Indeed.

PS - I feel like a kid on the night before Christmas - and NOT because of the looming holiday...more on that at a later date!

3 comments:

jeremy said...

nice post. i think the director of the doc was just on talk of the nation the other day. it was a good hour with neal.

borg_queen said...

Speaking of JFK, you might to see this

Anonymous said...

Don’t be so quick to judge a person’s suicide, it is painless.

When you get to be Hunter’s age and feel the effects of your drinking, smoking, and loud music, let us know about the quality of your life.

Go visit or volunteer at a local nursing home and get a good look at what it is like to grow old. Change an 80 year old patient’s diaper after they have been force fed soy based formula through a feeding tube. Take a look at some bed sores that literally go down to the bone. Some of the patients have so much arthritis that they cannot be moved out of bed without tremendous pain.

Many of these people would like to see the business end of a Smith & Wesson, but is too late once your flat on your back in a nursing home. The key is to take action before you become so disabled that you cannot take action. That is what Hunter did; he knew what was coming. Do you?