proud highway

We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.
—  Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and – in spite of True Romance magazines – we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely – at least, not all the time – but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.
—  Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.
—  Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
Hope rises and dreams flicker and die. Love plans for tomorrow and loneliness thinks of yesterday. Life is beautiful and living is pain. The sound of music floats down a dark street. A young girl looks out a window and wishes she were married. A drunk sleeps under a bridge. It is tomorrow.
—  Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway

“Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives… and to the “good life”, whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.”

Hunter S. Thompson - The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman

Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives… and to the ‘good life,’ whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.
—  Hunter S. ThompsonThe Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman

Lynn Goldsmith     The Good Dr Hunter S. Thompson, New York City     1966


“Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives… and to the ‘good life’, whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.” Hunter S. Thompson, “The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman”  1997

We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.
—  Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967 {August 2015}

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
—  Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
I’m in love with all of you except the part I don’t like. The part of you that thinks everyone has to settle down sooner or later with a nine to five job and a mortgage on the house and two chrome-covered cars in every garage and a slew of stupid, happy neighbors and nothing to look forward to but eternal manipulation by forces you never took the trouble to understand. That’s the part of you I don’t like, and the part I’ll never like.
—  Hunter S. Thompson. The Proud Highway, page 176

fifty four years ago today, dr. hunter s. thompson wrote my favorite literary piece of all time. the following is a letter to kraig juenger, a woman which thompson had recently began a passionate affair with.

october 17, 1957

 eglin air force base

fort walton beach, florida

dear kraig,

for the second monday night in succession, i find myself settling nervously into my chair at the playground news sports desk, with absolutely nothing done for this week’s edition, hundreds of stories to write- and beginning a letter to kraig.  ah weakness: thy name is hunter.

 as you predicted, i found your letter when i arrived tonight.  i’ve already read it three times and i’ll probably chalk up number four in a matter of minutes.  between that pianist in washington last weekend, your telephone call, and this letter, I’m going to play hell getting anything at all done either tonight or tomorrow. and, on top of everything else, i talked to one of the “discharge honchos” today, and received the assurance that immediate steps would be taken to root me out of the ranks at once.  my new technique- that of expounding at length on my religious and political beliefs- worked like a charm.  when i’d finished, he concluded with this remark: “i don’t know exactly what it is about you, thompson, and i didn’t understand much of what you said; but i can see at a glance that there’s not much sense in trying to make you either act or think like an airman should.  i’ll let you know within two days- twenty four hours, if possible- how soon you can be discharged”. and that’s it in a nutshell.  i don’t know why i tend to make it sound humorous, because there’s very little humor in it at all.  it demonstrates, probably more clearly than any other single incident in my life- just how far i have strayed from the popular ideologies of our time.  to go back- or to hesitate- would be unthinkable. and yet, in going on, i can see that i shall be permanently apart from all but a small and lonely percentage of the human race, in all but most superficial respects.  But, after publicly embracing a philosophy to gain a desirable but admittedly superficial end, i could hardly live with myself for any length of time if i were to turn my back on that philosophy after it had served my purpose. But i don’t propose to bore you with this sort of thing at this stage of the game.  it merely serves as a prelude to what i’m about to undertake- a short explanation of why there are “things i would like to say, but haven’t”. in short, kraig, i don’t think that you really have any idea who hunter s. thompson is when he drops the role of court jester.  and, for that reason, i’m afraid i’d be building you up for another fall if i were frank enough to tell you how i feel about you.  i don’t mean to say that i’m egotistical enough to believe that i have the power to make you feel one way or another about me. but on the other hand; if i were to attempt that, as i’d like to- and succeed- i’m not quite sure that either one of us would be any better off. and, rather than pursue any course of action which might eventually hurt you, i’d rather not do anything at all.
but let me tell you, before i leave this sombre subject, a little about myself: a very little- but enough.

first, i do not live from orgy to orgy, as i might have lead you to believe. i drink much less than most people think, and i think much more than most people would believe.  i am quite sincere about some of the things which people take very lightly, and almost insultingly unconcerned about some of the things which people take most seriously. in short, i am basically antisocial: certainly not to an alarming degree, but just more so than i appear to be.

and finally, the more i try to explain myself, the more apparent it becomes that i’m not doing a very good job of it. that’s why i wish, in a way, that we were not this far apart. it would be much easier to sit on a blanket on a beach and talk.  i’ve always thought that letters were a very poor medium to convey any sort of serious meaning, and this effort only confirms my suspicions. i do it very rarely, and i’m not likely to try again for some time. i hope, even though i haven’t done a very good job, that, if nothing else, i’ve gotten across to you that there’s something more to old cuubley than the part of him which shows above the water line.
but i think that anything else i can say on that subject would be useless. despite anything i might say, the truth of the matter is that i think about you constantly. i need neither songs nor radios to remind me of last thursday and friday nights, and i can think of very few things i’d rather do than spend a long string of nights with you on that stretch of beach.
i think i’ve already said too much, but i hardly think that it surprised you at all. and then too, as long as i feel this way, it probably won’t be very long until i drop in on you. but don’t be afraid: it won’t be for awhile, and i’ll warn you beforehand- probably.

don’t let this letter get you down.  i won’t do it again; i promise. hoping to see you soon, i remain, somewhat shaken, but still grinning… hunty.

hunter s. thompson. the proud highway.

Things here are as prosaic as ever, the same blood-curdling routine week after week, nothing but idiots everywhere, uniforms, foul food, and ugly women. Just as soon as I sell a novel or two, I will buy a plot of land and build a small hut and a large swimming pool on it. Then I will fence the whole thing off and operate a small scale nudist colony where I can have nightly orgies and not be bothered by the world and its idiots. Maybe I’ll let you come and handle my correspondence.
—  Hunter S. Thompson – The Proud Highway

As it is now, I am three days behind on both sports pages and am scheduled for a terrifying inquisition of some sort tomorrow, concerning innumerable charges of insubordination which have been placed against me within the last two weeks. At last count, nine NCOs had registered complaints, the Air Police had found me drunk in the office at 3:30 last Sunday night, I had been turned in for reckless driving on my new motor scooter, and the Colonel had discovered that I was working for the News without his permission. Needless to say, the situation is unsettled.

To add to everything else, I dropped a gallon-jug full of beer in the office Friday night, and the odor has permeated the very walls, being particularly offensive in the Colonel’s office, which has no ventilation. I am seriously considering applying for an unadaptable discharge (inability to adapt to the military way of life).

—  Hunter S. Thompson - The Proud Highway

“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone.”

Hunter S. Thompson, writer (The Proud Highway)

Pic: James Baldwin in Harlem

source: harlemcollective.tumblr.com