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Monday, February 21, 2005

Hey Rube

"SEPPUKU" is defined in my huge leather dictionary as "ceremonial suicide, by ripping open the abdomen with a dagger or knife, formerly practiced in Japan by members of the warrior class, when disgraced or sentenced to death."
That is the word I was looking for when my boys from Kentucky went belly-up and disgraced the whole state by losing ugly in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It was a terrible shock to every cell in my body. My heart went limp and the air rushed out of my lungs for 20 or 30 seconds when I saw the final score, and I fell sideways into a plate of watermelon. It was like being whacked from behind with a baseball bat.
I blacked out momentarily, but the room had already emptied except for two girls who were snickering at me as they backed out the door. I was so swollen with shame that I felt like a Japanese Fugue fish in heat -- and that was when I thought about Seppuku. It was the only honorable way out, so I reached for my gold-handled Samurai sword.
Hunter S. Thompson
March 23, 2004

Sad news coming out of Aspen today, right now all we know is the Good Doctor Hunter S Thompson decided to take his own life. I would be lying to you if I told you that I loved and understood all of his writing, I again would be lying to you if I told you I have read all of his books, but I have been reading his Page 2 columns for a number of years, and more often did than not the man made me laugh, think, and gamble. His love for betting the ponies and annual writing on the Kentucky Durby will be missed. Do yourself a favor, I am going to toss this link out there for people to take a look at the writing styling of the Good Doctor.
UPDATE: I was going to post the above excerpt, but Delusional beat me to it. Hunter was as hardcore of a Kentucky Basketball fan as they come, and no one, and I mean no one, could write out the pain of a Kentucky fan like he could. The above passage was exactly right. My story from that game was I got on a plane at halftime for my last crappy job to fly to New Orleans. The Cats were down, if I remember, by 1 or 2 at half. Not too worried, I boarded the plane. The second that wireless devices were permitted, I was checking the ol' Sprint Vision for the score. The first score to come across was UAB, as they were the away team. They only scored 20-something points in the second half, which set me up to be elated--UK shut them down and won by 20. Then UK's score came across, and, of course, they lost. I immediately began banging my head against the plastic airplane window, muttering (rather loudly) several swear words over and over. Needless to say, the guy next to me was freaked out and got out of his seat and into the isle, despite being about 20 rows of seats away from being able to walk off the plane. Reading Hunter's columns after moments like this brought back that sharp pain you felt, but then were oddly soothing. Knowing that someone out there, no matter how drug-crazed and delusional, were going through the same thing as you is always comforting. So, unless Kentucky wins the National Championship every year, I will be missing his comforting and completely insane rants. GA HILL

Family members had no hint that Thompson planned to take his own life, Brinkley said, and he did not leave a note. ''There was no farewell salutation,'' he said.

The family is looking into whether Thompson's cremated remains can be blasted out of a cannon, a wish the gun-loving writer often expressed, Brinkley said.

''Right now, there's a period of great sadness and deep mourning but also a sense of great joy of what his life stood for, and if that's what he wanted, we'll see if we can pull it off,'' he said. ''The optimal, best-case scenario is the ashes will be shot out of a cannon.''

''There's no question, I'm sure that's what he would want,'' said Mike Cleverly, a longtime friend and neighbor. ''Hunter truly loved that kind of thing.''

Colorado fireworks impresario Marc Williams said it's doable.

''Oh, sweet. I'd love to. I would so love to,'' said Williams, 44, owner of Night Musick Inc. in suburban Denver and a fan of Thompson's writing.

Williams said it's not uncommon for families to have their loved one's ashes scattered across the sky in a fireworks shell, though his company has never done it.

If the Thompson job was his, Williams said, he'd probably blast the ashes from a 12-inch-diameter mortar 800 feet into the sky. Then a second, window-rattling blast would scatter them amid a massive blossom of color about 600 feet across.

''If you were going to light up a flash-bomb worthy of Hunter S. Thompson, you'd want to make it an earth-shaker,'' Williams said.

Thompson's wife, and son, are looking into the cannon scenario, said Brinkley.
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