Right. So it’s the closing moments of what would have been Hunter S. Thompson’s 76th birthday. Not coincidentally, I’m in the closing sips of a glass of a pretty good 5-year rum.
If not for the good doctor, I’m not sure I’d enjoy writing—and, for that matter, reading—as much as I do today. I never wanted to be HST; I just wanted to capture that bite. It’s not something that can be properly explained but you know it when you see it. I could be talking about anything—sports, politics, pop culture, cooking, laundry tips—and then, crunch, like a shark through unsuspecting flesh. Fear. Loathing. The bite hits you and you can’t turn back. Maybe you’re inspired or horrified or tickled or disappointed. Regardless, your brain carves out a little niche and shoves those words in. And they’re in that little cranny forever. It’s a legacy to which all writers should aspire, content be damned.
No one can capture and relive the frenzy that was Thompson’s life; at least not fully. But your own life can take on Gonzo qualities if you really want it to. Because I always viewed that state of being as completely subjective. Live your life. Take chances but always be smart. Fight for what’s right. Do it with a buzz or do it without; it doesn’t really matter as long as you make your own rules in spite of theirs and manage to not get caught along the way.
Thank you, Doc. For everything. Maybe someday I’ll come up with a proper tribute.
Res ipsa loquitur.
I have become a wasp assassin.
I got stung by a wasp at an early age…I’m sure I had bee stings and other bug interactions that I don’t remember at this point, but one event still stands out: I was playing with the neighbor’s cat and it ran into a large bush.
Fearless Ignorant kid that I was, I followed to “rescue” the cat from the bush…and got stung right between the shoulder blades. For some reason, it stuck in my mind as some of the worst pain I’ve ever felt. I was like five or six years old. Nearly 30 years later, I remember it like it was yesterday.
So to this day, I have a very general fear and loathing of insects that sting. It’s not a paralyzing phobia, but I get startled easily by these buzzing agents of pain and do what I can to sufficiently flee or destroy them when confronted. Unfortunately, when you live in an old house like I do, you’re often confronted with gaps and spaces that allow for critters to enter. This is especially true of brick homes and how the soffit/facia lines up near the roof. I think you can see where this is going.
I work from home, and my office is in the only room on the second floor. That room is surrounded by a lot of inaccessible (to us) attic space, and I know wasps live in there. I’ve seen them go in from the outside. And since there is quite a bit of remodeling work that still needs to be done, there are less-than-flush seams in certain walls/closets/etc. So I’m faced with the low-frequency buzz of a wasp entering my office space at least three times a week. It is infuriating and usually leads to me spouting a string of profanities followed by me chasing my enemy around the room with a fly swatter like in the famous “bat country” scene from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Today alone I killed two of these bastards. They both received the Osama bin Laden treatment from me: taken out with a precision weapon (fly swatter) then buried at sea (toilet). I find them in other areas of the house, too…usually the bathroom for some reason. The other day I picked up a pair of shorts from the floor and one flew out of the clothing’s folds.
Am I the target of some coordinated attack scheme? Do they know my fears and countermeasures? Can they hear me right now? These little pricks must die, and I must be the one to kill them. No rest for the weary.