So, we have come to the end of a momentous day in history, and for the first time since the Kennedy Brothers, the most powerful country on our little green planet feel they can see the light at the end of the tunnel. But as the day has past by, the headlines fired at us from every direction, it's not Barack Obama who has been on my mind. 11 years ago now, my good friend The Marquis, handed me a beaten up old paperback and told me it would change my life. Now, having grown up in the business of handing out books telling people that the knowledge contained within would change their lives, this was a new experience for me. The paperback handed to me was missing half a cover, the spine was a mess and each page very well thumbed. I had heard of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas before, but I knew nothing about the good Doctor who "lived" it. The book didn't change my life, but what it did do was remind me never to look at the things I see before me, but to look deeper, tear past the norm and see the life contained within. Could this be part of the reason I have become the prickly character I am today? Who knows. Hunter Thompson would probably tell me I was being an idiot. But, it has been Thompson who has been on my mind today.
The Good Doctor, was many things and became the animal that he portrayed in his books. Writers like Tom Wolfe got into the minds of those he wrote about, Hunter did the same, but unlike Wolfe, he never was able to remove him self from his subjects, and in that, he became the subject. He was shaped by living with Hell Angels, RFK's murder and the subsequent farce of the Democratic Convention in Chicago 1968, when the city exploded, Civil Rights and the Death of the American dream that he chased for so many years. I truly wonder what he would have thought to see a man like Obama standing tall, as President Elect. It can only be a wonder, for, as his collection of letters "Kingdom of Fear" shows, the man spoke his mind and constantly surprised everyone. I would highly recommend tracking a copy down, if only to read the Article he wrote for ESPN, as he watched the Twin Towers burn.
It's maybe the last great piece of writing the man did, before he killed himself in February 2005.
You see, growing up as I have, with a great hope for a future beyond the one that this stumbling system has, I wonder what tomorrow will truly bring. My great fear for Obama is that he will have to worry more about the extremists living in his own country, rather than those abroad. Yet, for every momentous event, reality soon kicks in. The Marquis ended up in the States and became a volunteer for the Obama campaign in Las Vegas. I wonder if he sees the irony of that, ending up in the city that, in a way, changed him from Barrister to Citizen of the World and chasing the Dream that has long been dead. Me? I sit here at a quarter to one in the morning, a glass of Superstition on the go, truly wondering what's is going to happen next. With everything that has happened over the last 18 months or so, running away seems a constant course of action. Having a job that takes me away from the troubled states of mind I live with helps, but running is for the fit, and I'm far too tired for that. No one has a monopoly on loneliness, as my mother once said, and as she always likes to remind us, she's right. I know my mind, and speak it, for worse usually, and, on very rare occasions, better. Yet, I'm told that what I feel is not correct, my opinion not valid when faced against the greater picture. The impression I get from this is to walk blindly into the light, this isn't me. I need to be able to say what is on my mind, I have grown out of saying things for a reaction, now I say them because that is what I feel.
Thompson wrote that if you climbed a steep hill in Vegas and look west, with the right kind of eyes, you could see where the '60s wave crashed and rolled back into the pacific. We stand on the brink of momentous times, these last days, as the bible says, will be hard to deal with. This wave, we are promised, will takes us through, but the question I ask is "Can I surf it?" Or, a more important thought, "Can I surf the trouble writing this is going to cause?"
If anyone actually reads this thing, please take away one thought, the light is shining, but their are obstacles along the path. Some trip over them more than others, some get blinded by stupid things like beards, and some are blinded by their own self worth. No one walks these paths alone, and each person on their journey has the free will that got us here in the first place, but no one can make the trip alone. No matter how alone you feel, there is always some one, somewhere, with their had out to help you up again. Thompson may have been a drug addled nutter, but he was right about his approach. Never take things at face value, look beyond and try to understand. He did thing with an incredible amount of LSD and quarts of Wild Turkey. You and I don't, just use compassion and understanding. Don't be blinded by the stupidity we each carry in our egos, look to the reasons why people act and say the things they do, because how do you understand someone's "heart condition" if we cannot accept the person we see with our eyes.