Requiem for a genius


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Written when the man who inspired me to become a writer died

Hunter S. Thompson is dead. Admittedly by his own hand, but death has no prejudice. The great leveler has no finicky qualms about how you die. Doesn’t give a rodent’s tight little ringpiece about who you are either. But some of us do live on a bit longer in the memories of the living. Some may last a generation, some even more, but only the truly great attain immortality. I believe Hunter S. Thompson was such a man. So consider this blog the doffing of my hat to one of my role models. Let’s just hope Eric Cartman doesn’t have suicidal leanings, because I only have a handful of role models left.

Some people may never have heard of Hunter S. Thompson. I shall reserve my judgment on that fact, since the man was not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea. Indeed tea lovers and teetotalers would shudder to consider Mr. Thompson anything short of an abomination. I’ll pander to ignorance and mention that Hunter S. Thompson is, or rather was, the author of the book many only consider a film starring the cheekbone-endowed Johnny Depp and the wonderfully-named Benicio Del Toro. Yes, I speak of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which, despite my own loathing of book-turned-movies, managed to somehow do the book a certain level of justice. Many will also not know that the story is not necessarily a work of fiction.

Hunter S. Thompson was an arch-hedonist. His love and pursuit of relentless debauchery, reckless abandon and severe anarchy can only be looked upon with awe. He consumed enough narcotics in any shape or form to drop an elephant at forty paces. He looked upon law with disdain. He single-handedly led a revolution that would change the face of journalism forever. He indulged in fervent sexual depravity that would make a two-dollar whore seem like Mother Teresa. But above all he managed to do all of this while consistently writing scathing, incisive, witty and truly gifted social commentary.

They say that there is a thin line between genius and insanity. Well no truer words can be spoken than saying that Hunter S. Thompson definitely inhaled that line and, true to form, would have complained that it was so thin. I believe this to be the reason behind the fact that his truly talented brains are now adorning the walls of his home in Aspen. Not the fact that he was a drug-addled madman who finally lost hold of his tenuous grip on reality. Genius is a difficult monster to contain within a mortal man. After 67 years of unbridled decadence, I think Thompson finally felt that he had wrestled with enough demons and fucked an equal amount of angels as he felt necessary. What more could the man do after all? He had taken life by the horns and rogered it violently up the poopchute. The only man who could justly court death simply because that was all he had left to do. Perhaps it was frustration. He had been dancing at death’s door, taunting the Reaper with middle finger raised, for decades. So perhaps he just thought, fuck it, I keep a'knockin' but nobody let’s me in, I’ll just let myself in then shall I? He had simply had his fill.

Many will say that Thompson was a drug-crazed, lawless, morality-spurning lunatic. I disagree wholeheartedly and heatedly. He was a genius. He lived a fuller life than almost any human to have walked on this planet. He experienced both pleasure and pain to the fullest extent of those emotions. Nothing can be more admirable in my eyes.

Lessons to be learned from Hunter S. Thompson? Life is for living. Boring platitude it may be, and rife with irony since he committed suicide, but I believe only a man that has truly lived can take his own life. I am not advocating suicide. All I am saying is that I still have a lot of life left to live. I want to take life and choke it until its eyes start bleeding. I want to disembowel life and let its guts spill onto the ground with a gleeful splattering. I want to rip off life’s limbs and beat it into a coma with the soggy ends. I want to cut off life’s eyelids and leave it in a desert sandstorm. Merely sucking the marrow out of life is for pussies.

“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.”- Hunter

“The edge?... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”- Hunter

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