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Buy the Ticket….

June 28, 2014

I should be asleep right now instead of staring at this infernal screen, but my ears are swollen shut and the pain in my jaw is keeping me awake. My face looks like its been hit by a truck and it feels like a ton of concrete was poured in through my sinuses, but so what? Somewhere out there is a man suffering the ill effects of scrotal elephantitis and carrying what amounts to two gigantic boulders in what, at this point, could be considered a king size duffel bag, and he aint bitching so neither will I. It is imperative that I make sense of these gnarled thoughts and get them on paper before the benadryl kicks in. Tonight’s subject is one that is near and dear to my heart. A man I’ve never met, but that changed my life in ways I could never describe.

The first words I ever read from the mind of Hunter S. Thompson were: “We were just outside of Barstow when the drugs began to take hold.” The year was 1995 and the book was Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. I read the book and thought nothing of it. It was good, not great, and really, aside from the drug use, which had piqued my curiosity, nothing else really stood out. A few weeks later I took my first Acid trip. I will say right here and right now, that had it not been for HST, I doubt I would have gotten into psychedelics. I was happy with the occassional toke off a joint here and there and saw no reason to expand my horizons as it were. During that trip, I had a definite feeling that there was a pulse to the world, and that if I could just get in synch with it, everything would be just fine. That day a new door opened for me and instead of staring at it and saying “Maybe next time.” I dove head first through that son of a bitch and found myself in a world I never wanted to leave. That day I decided that I would be a writer.

Unlike HST, my early days of freelancing met with some financial success. I played by the rules (for the most part) and toed the company line. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with cancer that I understood the true power of words. During my year of chemo, I read every Hunter S, Thompson book I could find. He was abrasive, confrontational, angry, but most importantly, he was honest. His words were truth personified. You may not like what he had to say, but you couldn’t deny the raw, naked truth he provided. It was at that point, that I realized what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to hit people square in the nutsack with truth. Not just subtly throw it out there, but hit people with it as hard as I could.

It’s been said over the years, that any writer worth a shit has borrowed from HST. I admit, there are times that I freely take his style and throw it out to the masses (the 1 or 2 readers we get.) PJ O’Rourke has been guilty of it, as has Tom Wolfe. I will never be as successful as either of them, but you don’t get into writing for the money. Let’s face it, unless your last name is Rowling, King, or Koontz, you have about as much chance of making it as a writer as George W Bush has making it as a pretzel taste tester. The attraction to writing on my end, was the potential hidden inside words. Each word a unique color just waiting to be spread out on a canvas.

The benadryl has taken hold. My eyes are getting heavy and my brain is starting to resemble the Okeefenokee Swamp. I guess this unnecessary piece should wrap up with a small quote. Something so simple yet something that says everything that has ever needed to be said in this world:  “Buy the ticket, take the ride.” – Hunter S Thompson.

There ya have it. Extraordinary truth from an Extraordinary man. I don’t know what cosmic bar you happen to be hanging out at Doc, but put your wallet away. This one’s on me.

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