"We were somewhere around barstow on the edge of the dessert when the drugs began to take hold"
That was the sentence that started it all.I first read it in 1992,after i found my fathers copy of Hunter S. Thompson's epic novel "Fear and loathing in las vegas".
This may sound ridiculous but that book changed my life.I was 14 at the time,and i had never read anything like that befour.It was about a delusional deranged journalist, Raoul duke who's given an assignment to cover a motorcycle race called the Mint 400 thats being held in las vegas,and his psychopathic attorney,only refered to as Dr.Gonzo, insists that he comes along.What follows it a tale of the two of them getting completely twisted on a extensive collection of drugs and completely forgetting the assignment in the haze of it all.All they end up doing is terrorizing half of the town in their drug craze.
What really amazed me about this story is that these two crazy ass people were real.Raoul Duke was the well known journalist Hunter S. Thompson.
And his psychopathic attorney was the famous chicano rights fighter Oscar Zeta Acosta
Together these two made quite a pair.
What was also amazing is that it was based on a true story.Sure Hunter S Thompson made up a portion of it,but even if only 20 percent of that novel is true thats still pretty impressive.But this article is'int about the novel.Its about the result it had on me and how it greatly impacted my teen years as I was growing up in the very small town of Old Forge,PA.
After reading that amazing novel I decided to look more into who Hunter was.Since this was 1992 and i could'nt simply google his name I decided to check my local library to see his other works.I picked up the great shark hunt,which was a compilation of a bunch of his journalistic pieces which were written while Hunter was in his prime.
This book gave me a much deeper look into the live of Hunter Thompson then fear and loathing did.He was all for freak power and shocking the squares.One story that stood out to me is "Freak Power in the rockies" in which he detailed his run for
sheriff of aspen,and how much it freaked out all the rich folk of aspen to see a crazy like him trying to gain power.He lost,not by much though.At this point I idolized him and that sent shivers down my parents spine.I started wearing hawian shirts and aviator glasses.I was becoming a cheap imitation of Hunter.
(pic is not of me)
Looking back at it now,it seems kind of pathetic ,but at the time I was totaly obsessed with shocking the squares.My new dream was to become a famous journalist.I even began smoking cigarettes from a gold tiped holder.And then my drug and alcohol consumption increased dramatically.That summer was a living hell for me.I'd always come home wasted and my parents could'nt tolerate it anymore,my parents took me to a rehabilitation center,and I could tell they felt stupid for bringing their marijuana addicted son to a place full of junkies and crack heads. Eventually i toned it down,and wasn't getting busted anymore,so my parents thought i was clean,when reality i had just become more sly.
I also began writing,I even bought an old fashion type writer.
Surprisingly I thought what I was writing was pretty damn good,i never really showed it to anybody though,I was'nt nearly as courageous as my idol.Obviously i never became the famous journalist i aspired to be,and now i write articles for various websites.*sob*
Another thing that I noticed in HST's writing is that he normally used mace for comic effect.Like macing a waiter and running out of the restaurant.I was convinced that it was the perfect weapon and eventually i got my hands on a can.
Problem was I never had the balls to use it.That was probably a good thing though,it probably would've landed my ass in juvie.I ended up selling it to a dealer for some grass.
Eventually I accepted the fact that I was a total failure and that I was trying to live up to a legend that no man would ever be able to imitate.I decided to give up my gonzo life style...
Until in 1998 Terry Gilliam made an extremely loyal film adaptation of the novel
And then the obsession started all over again.
In 2005 HST took his own life in his home in aspen.
Good night sweet prince.
disclaimer:I wouldn't recommend firearms,drugs,weird chemicals,or insanity to anyone,but they've always worked for me.