when the not so weird turn pro
Benign and savage on the turn of a sixpence – in life and in prose – Hunter Thompson was not so much a man of contradictions as a man, like all of us, on a mission. Through his various assignments, constantly pitched against the deadline, Hunter sought to carve himself a reputation Sam Peckinpah might have been proud of, and a niche in the real world of politics he simultaneously despised and adored. Ultimately, he may even have created his own living nightmare; an elaborately manufactured similacrum of Mary Shelly\’s \”Frankenstein\”, warts and all – the inescapable shadow of his own unique self. The angry fist of Gonzo f@cking himself right in the ass. With little or no lubrication.
In the final analysis, shrouded perhaps from too much wine, I found myself agreeing pretty much with his first wife, Sandy Conklin Thompson – now Sondi Wright – regarding his suicide. A single, self-inflicted gunshot to the head within earshot of his one son, Juan. Yes. Hunter S. Thompson was not yet done. He may have had enough, but he was not yet done.
From the suicide note subsequently published in Jan wenner\’s \”Rolling Stone\”, fondly entitled \”The Football Season is Over\”: \”\”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.\”
I remember reading about his suicide in \”The Times\” in 2005 with an unholy mixture of sadness and a far from admirable delight, maybe, in a chapter finally closed. At the time, perhaps, I too felt Hunter was done. Simply because I was done reading him. That is one hell of a confession. The world has moved on, I told myself; no more Vietnams, or crooks or peanut farmers in the White House.
Speak about premature ejaculation. From Bush\’s foray into Iraq and Afghanistan, to Barack Obama\’s election as a black candidate, what is missing in today\’s theatre of politics and corruption is the unrequited observation from the bleachers of a Hunter S. Thompson. Cigarette holder or Gonzo fist rammed home or not.
Last night I had a dream. The Chinese had invaded, or maybe the invasion came from deep space. Whatever. Twenty-three to thirty of us were detained by day in a \’re-education centre\’, and allowed home at night to complete an assignment. The Chinese were very efficient. And suave in their Jimmy Chu/Mao Tse-Tung suits and elegant footwear.
I had a crush on a female translator with obsidian eyes and a bull horn.
I did not complete my assignment. I missed the deadline. The very next morning I was surrounded by a smiling host of fellow Caucasians shyly unveiling beautifully executed Cartouches depicting the righteousness of occupation.
\”You, who have done, have done well. You have exceeded your birthright by stint of meritocracy. In due course, your contribution shall be rewarded. Ruminate.\”
All I had managed was a cover note outlining my reservations. Even that appeared half-assed. The girl with the bull horn told us to congratulate ourselves. Our contribution to the revolution was inviolate. The best of us could expect to be summarily re-educated and set to work immediately. Women and men to my left and right threw high fives freely.
Their relief seemed infectious. Like Swine Flu blown in on an exotic breeze.
I could not believe my ill fortune. I had failed. Again, it seemed. I could not make it in the world of squares; I could not make it come the revolution.