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Open Letter to Dr. Hunter S. Thompson….Posthumously Of Course….
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Open Letter to HST; October, 2014
Hunter S. Thompson
Woody Creek Road
Fat City, Colorado
October 1, 2014
Dear Dr. Thompson,
It is with a heavy heart, broken maybe, some honest busted balls anger and a modicum of depression that this letter is written. I truly wish it could be said that this letter finds you well…but it can't. You're gone. But sir, your certainly not forgotten. Its been almost ten years - ten mind numbing years wrought with fear, loathing, aversion and contempt - since that fateful day that damn werewolf finally got the best of you, or maybe it was those cock sucking bats, but whatever demon inside, it finally took control...led you outside to the snowy, purple pristine peaks of Aspen, large caliber pistol in hand, to do what you felt needed to be done; the deed that kept you feeling alive for all those years. There are those amongst us that too know your pain, in fact feel much the very same way; the only driving force behind our every move, good bad or indifferent, is the comfort bode from knowing we have the power over ourselves to end it all on our own terms, in our own time. I get it. Really do. Anyone that cares even the slightest has read, or maybe even listened to your final piece of prose; a final note like no other then or now, and then...You literally blew your own mind, just like you had many times before, but not with chemicals, narcotics, whiskey or even adrenaline - this was the last time. Indeed.
Open Letter to HST, Page Two
But, my Southern Gent, your legacy lives on in vivid color, like an all too common hallucination, an ageless apparition, a gila monster with no asshole if you will. It sucks in but nothing ever comes out. The whole “Gonzo” thing has gone mainstream and the likes of you, Burroughs, Kerouac, Bukowski; who would've thought, your all topics for Documentaries, Masters thesis’ and Doctoral publications. Ralph and Wolfe are left doing interviews of the man they knew, not the one they know. McGovern and Carter praise you and even Barger, albeit dripping with an internal and infernal despise, compliments you whenever he’s asked.
Your work has been perpetuated into something reminiscent of a morbid walk down Memory Lane in Fat City or up Main Street in the Dark & Bloody Ground…not really confident you’d be happy with any of it actually. Personally I think you'd be pissed. It's a bummer for anyone, such as I, whose not only a fan of your literature but has been along for “the ride” for thirty five plus years. A real bummer, I can tell you that. No disrespect, to you or the others, I'm sure its an honor. But it seems somewhat appalling, like pissing on a grave, to dishonor those who are dead with the glory and accolades they deserved when they lived. And sure, You (and the others) had your moments in the spotlight but a lot was bullshit. Bus jumping, band wagoning...just total horseshit. Hey, I'll give you one thing, your litany of friends has some pretty hefty weight to it now...Cusack, Depp, McGovern, Wolfe, Penn, Nicholson…hell even the rat bastard playground bully Buchanan calls you an "inspiration". Awe, Fuck It All, right? Let him get inspired by you I guess, who cares and who the hell am I anyway.
A large reason I'm writing this is to tell you how ripped off some of us feel...but I can't bring myself around to spit it out the way it needs to be said, so I'll move on. What you should know is there are some real decent folks doing some real decent stuff with the movement. Freak Power, Gonzo Journalism and even Steadmans art have sparked an inferno recently and its pretty kick ass. The Social Media component has lit the fire but the people, the followers, fanatics and freaks have poured kerosene on the whole fucking thing. Its very very cool. You’d love it. See Doc, you, as a person and through your prose, have influenced many of us a great deal and for me personally, its been in many aspects of my life, some good, some bad. I've been following you, in RS and elsewhere, since the late seventies, and I met you in ‘79. I was ten, roughly the same age as Juan. You were doing a book signing at an old bookstore - now gone and a Starbucks in its place - at Downtown Crossing in Boston, and the local clan of Hells Angels provided security for the event - outside at least. I was allowed inside though, with my Mother, and you were there, with a stuffed suit type fellow, probably a self loathing lawyer, or maybe more disgustingly, a ruthless, profit conniving publicity agent. I really don't know nor care. I do know that it was awesome to behold. You torched the bastard like a damn flamethrower, it was something, truly was. And you were only playing around (I think). He shuffled off, head down, smoothing down the front of his suit jacket like he'd just been accosted by a prostitute with venereal disease. It was hysterical. I recall distinctly you were drinking "Makers Mark" whiskey instead of "Wild Turkey”...and you were exactly what I had expected and hoped for, in all the insane glory.
Having a Mom who was an open "Ole Lady" for the Hells Angels wasn’t all its cracked up to be, I can and will attest to that - but it will get you all access to an HST book signing. This wasn't something many, well any actually, of my friends could or would have done - but it impacted my life forever. By the way, by no stretch would I think you recalled who I was, yet you were so kind, if not a little weirded out that there was this little “Dutch Boy”...blond hair, brown eyed kid wearing dungarees, work boots and an over sized double thumbed fist tshirt; staring at you like you were a wax figure. You were so tall, you bent at the knee and then the waist, twirling your Dunhill from the left to the right, and snatched up my little hand and said "Nice to meet ya...Hey, anyone know who this strange little fucker belongs to?" My Mom stepped forward, you & she talked a minute, you mentioned how much she resembled Janis Joplin, you signed my book, all of you smoked up some grass and off we went. As I recall, my Mother was arrested later on that night (public drunkenness I believe) and I was forced to stay with an absolutely abhorent Aunt of mine...her name was “Paulette”...mainly because she was such a mind numbingly evil person my Grandparents couldn’t figure out if she was a girl or a boy at birth, so they laid a shitty name on her and figured the rest would play out - it did, in spades. This lady was a lizard sucking soul monger who prayed to Jesus for everything and praised him for just as much. The Sun Rose - "Praise Jesus”...the wind is blowing - "Praise Jesus”...a mouse farted - “Praise Jesus Almighty”...it was absolutely ridiculous horseshit to me then and even now over 35 years later, it still pisses me off. Anyhow, that horrible bitch (who would many years later, take my Grandmother, aged gracefully into her late 80’s, to her reptilian cave to "be at peace”...poor old Nana was dead in a month, the lizard queen sucked her soul clean out her eyes, along with her bank account, like some venomous vacuum cleaner)...anyway, that fateful night, she took my book that I had been clutching so hard in the police cruiser that the ink was wearing off on my hand. I think the bitch burnt it too. I cursed her soul then and there...the real bummer is I never got my book back. So, my very cool Granddad (who thought you were a “hippie” but respected you for being a “military man” and liked your writing anyhow) bought me a new one, it wasn’t signed obviously, but I wanted the treasure inside anyhow...to me, no disrespect, the signature meant nothing, for the words inside would own my mind for however brief a period and take me to places, see things and learn stuff I never could’ve dreamt of, intense is the only way to describe it.
Currently, I own about half to two thirds of your books, a few article originals, some Steadman art. Some I can’t find or they simply aren’t affordable. I’ve watched all the movies, documentaries, all the You Tube stuff...and all the while I’ve been writing like a madman, pounding on the keyboard like an acid wretched pianist for twenty five years. Success hasn’t found me...and that's fine. What I find most important is being able to express myself, and that is a lesson I learned from you. During an Omnibus Interview you stated that you wrote for yourself and to express yourself, never giving a damn about the end reader...and that about eighty percent of what you write would never ever be read by anyone else but you...there’s some legitimate truth in that statement; especially for those who don’t take their own personal writing too serious but more for the love of it. My professional writing remains as such, we all must eat, pay rent and such so I write the pieces that pay the bills. But I make sure I write for me and keep the really good stuff for myself as well.
Freedom is Rising.
In the recent years since your demise, things have become remarkably worse in the World...your words became prophetic for those that actually understood what you were saying “back then”. And, in the last year or so - but absolutely in the last few months - there has begun what can only be described as an entire shift of the cosmos. A wave of Social Change the likes that hasn’t been seen since the 60’s...and more than ever it appears that Freak Power is exploding like a .44 Magnum in the dark of night. The causes, the reasons, the groups, the outrage, the media coverage, the political machine...as David Pratt stated recently:
“It’s not just one movement here and another protest there, but rather a basic, radical change in social consciousness and political awareness spreading across the world. Call me romantic, call me naïve, call me a blithering idiot if you want to…but there is something in the air…an upswelling from the underground, a voice of rage rising from the street…the people awaking, demanding truth and justice, peace, fairness and equity. Freedom.”
Thus the essence of my letter to you finally comes to be....I just really wanted to thank you...from the bottom of my heart, for what you’ve given to us. The “Us” being those that carry the torch of “Gonzo Journalism” into this new beginning of the Freak Power Movement with the blueprint you drew up for us firmly engrained in our minds, thus our collective consciousness. It would’ve been outstanding indeed if you were still around to participate in all this...so instead we’ll hit this hairpin corner without you, throttled up like a bastard, double clutching, going 110mph by ourselves and in the end, we’ll all go over the edge together. I can almost hear the music now.
Very truly yours,
From The Ole' Cabin
© 2014 ThomasFoolery