I’m exhausted. It was a long day that started way before the sun and after having a beer (or three) in celebration of a life, I can barely keep my eyes open. But I must! I cannot go to sleep without giving a nod and a clap on the back and a toast from a good bottle to one of the most influential people in my life.
Hunter S. Thompson.
I saw Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas when I was still in high school; me and a couple friends snuck in and I remember walking out thinking like a lot of people did (do): “Man, that was trippy! That dude was fucked up!”
I think we can all forgive my youthful misunderstanding. I saw only what I understood.
Later, when I was in college and actually had tried some (let’s be honest – the most innocuous of what he was into) of the substances he used, the movie took on new life. But this isn’t about “take drugs and life will be better,” it’s just a way of saying life experience had changed my perspective. But Thompson got inside my head. He was my “Yes Man” long before I even knew what that term was.
I don’t have much more in the way of words in my head tonight. I’m fading fast. But if you are one of those people who don’t “get” Hunter, let me just say this and then follow it up with something else later – a book, an interview, something.
He forged a path that few were willing to take. His drug use was simply a tool to break the Morals and Values that had been drilled into his head, whether he agreed or not. But most importantly, he questioned authority, both in political and social realms and stood fast behind those questions, unflinching, unwilling to back down. His critique of our culture and political atmosphere resonates as much now as it did then,
And I think his most important lesson was about Fear. Deep, abiding, unabashed Fear that guides too much of our lives. His most important message is simple.
I tip my hat to you, you Gonzo sonofabitch.