Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Good Doctor

I saw Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride last night. It’s a captivating documentary on the life and death of Hunter S. Thompson.

Despite a life of unbridled adventure an excess, the most fascinating segments dealt with his breakfast routine, sleeping habits and funeral arrangements. He would wake sometime in the afternoon and eat 5 or 6 grapefruits along with several glasses of Chivas. He would regularly stay up and work or talk on the phone till dawn. He lived life entirely on his own terms until the idea of himself outran the reality. The movie actually makes a disturbingly good case for committing suicide in your mid to late sixties. Or at least when there’s nothing more to be done.

Repeatedly throughout the film, people close to him state that despite his reputation and larger than life persona, in the private company of family and friends he was a consummate Southern gentleman. That’s what stuck out to me the most, at least in relation to my current fascinations. He was a man with an insatiable appetite for everything in the realm of guns, booze, drugs, motors, sport, politics and anything where danger and excitement traveled along the same parabola. But when the show was over, he was a kind and giving host and friend, a road man for the lords of karma.

I was also intrigued by the fact that as a budding writer, he used to retype complete books by the likes of Hemmingway and Faulkner. I'd like to give that a try. I can't imagine having that kind of time though. I'll bet it would make me a much better writer, and typist.

“There was no time for scholarly details, and, besides, I have always believed that a man can fairly be judged by the standards and taste of his choices in matters of high-level plagiarism.”

“It’s a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat shit and die.”

His Suicide Note
“Football seasons over. No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun - for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax - This won’t hurt.”

I have only read essays and articles of his. After seeing this movie, though, I'm putting at least one novel on my library list.

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