Tuesday, March 15, 2005

 

HST In RS

For the first time in what seems like ages (it's actually been about 2.5 years), I picked up a copy of Rolling Stone this past weekend. The reason was simple and pure - it was the issue containing their eulogy of Hunter S. Thompson.

RS's website has some of the material from the printed magazine - I thought that Johnny Depp's piece was particular nice - and among the best of the online stuff is the hilarious "Memo From The Sports Desk", authored by the fictious Raoul Duke:

To all employees without exception

Why is the staff so fucking lazy? It's getting so I can't even walk fast through the hallways any more without stumbling over some freak on the nod.

Is it drugs? Has it come to that?

If so, by God, we're going to clean it up pretty damn fast. My attorney has worked out a series of disciplinary measure that will zap this thing where it lives. Henceforth, anyone caught with narcotics, crazy pills or other stupor inducing agents will be dragged down to the basement and have his scrotum torn off.....and, conversely, any offender without a scrotum will have one permanently attached to her.

Side-splittingly funny, yes, but not so much as the loving recollections of those he considered to be friends. Consider this passage from Jim Clancy, who was a roommate of Thompson's in New York around 1957:

One evening when I pulled up, Hunter had the stereo going good and loud. He came out of the house and put this big bag of pot up on the roof. One thing led to another, and Hunter dragged the couch out of the living room into the snow in the yard, poured gasoline on it and set it on fire. Then he walked back into the house with this huge ball of fire going up in the air. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "I am a master of tools".

Those last six words literally had me howling out loud with laughter, much to the distress of my wife who generally tries to discourage anything encouraging me to set furniture on fire.

Throughout the comments of approximately 37 people, including Jack Nicholson, Ed Bradley, George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Sean Pean, Keith Richards, Anjelica Huston, and Marilyn Manson, we get sprinkling of Thompson's own writing (a painfully funny and very mean letter to Tom Wolfe; an actually quite sweet letter to Jann Wenner on the topic of Thompson's dying mother) and quite the variety of photos - Hunter shooting a handgun from a Harley-Davidson, hanging out with George McGovern on the campaign bus, sitting on his John Deere tractor with son and grandson, and blasting his IBM typewriter with what appears to be a Ruger Super Blackhawk.

While the stories range greatly in scope and topic, one thing remains constant over the 39 pages of copy - every single writer is celebrating the life of someone who's single overriding goal was to maximize fun while pushing the limits of human endurance.


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