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Thoughts on Hunter Thompson’s funeral

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You fucker, you won. You went out on your own terms. How you did it, to me, was bullshit. With your son and grandson in the other room and your wife on the phone? What kind of shit is that? Seriously, that was fucked up. Regardless, the more I have learned since your passing, I understand. You were a proud man who was beaten down by his own body. I am reminded of Salma Hayak as Frida Kahlo saying ‘when I die, I want you to burn this judas of a body that has betrayed me’. I didn’t know for months after your passing that you were confined to a wheelchair. I understand what you did and why you did it. I don’t agree, but I understand.
On the occasion of Hunter’s funeral celebration this weekend in Aspen, Colorado I wanted to say a few words.

I am sad you are gone. I am also angry, but that is more for obviously selfish reasons. Mostly, though, I am sad. I miss your incoherent and paranoid ramblings. Towards the end, I began to dismiss every story you told as a complete fabrication. Then, after you died people would pop up in publications (most notably Rolling Stone) and tell their ‘the first time I met Hunter’ stories… and sure enough the shit you wrote was real. Though a talented writer, was there a worst house or hotel guest in history than you? Probably not… Oh well, fuck them. They are swine and we will march on the road of their bones to glory.

So, I wanted to say goodbye. I can’t be at Owl Farm this weekend, they asked us not to come. Well, maybe next year. We aren’t invited to their elitist Hollywood party this year. Not sure if that is what you would have wanted. Anyhow, we will have our day to celebrate and grieve you. Bummer it can’t be this summer in Aspen, but I will respect your family. They better do something up there, otherwise they will just have 30 years of stalkers cruising around Woody Creek looking for closure.

I always wanted to meet you. You are the reason I moved to Colorado. You are the reason I go online only by the name Lono. People ask me why I go by Lono. I don’t bother with the whole Captain Cook or Hawaiian mythology. I simply say ‘Oh, it’s a Hunter Thompson reference.’ When I moved to Colorado from Northern Arizona about 10 years ago, I only had one place in the whole state of Colorado circled on the map. It was Woody Creek. I wasn’t moving to Woody Creek, I was moving to Denver. However, I always kept that circled atlas as a reminder of why I came here… to find you.

So, thanks for fucking that up. It’s ok, I got to see you speak in person in Boulder many years ago after Juan’s graduation. It was at the Fox Theatre and it was a classic Hunter evening. You were terribly late, wasted, rude, lucid, articulate, and hilarious. I even learned later that night you got arrested for attacking a theatre page with a fire extinguisher. Nice form! In college, Woody and I built a kegball league, I named it ‘Beer and Loathing’.

To your credit, you never sold out. Your work pretty much kept getting worse, and certainly more scattered. That’s ok though, it happens to everyone. You still kept your spark though, and touched everyone along the way. When I say ‘you never sold out’, that means a lot to me. Most great icons seem to end up doing car commercials or schilling apple computers. You could have, and it would have been great:

Hi, I’m Hunter Thompson. When I am winding down Woody Creek canyon at 80 mph in the middle of the night with the headlights off and a head full of acid and bourbon… I drive a fucking Cadillac. Lemme tell you something, Bubba… one of those jap cars isn’t going to hold you in one piece when you pull a John Denver and go smackin’ into a forest liquored up to the teets. No sir, you need a big ass Red Shark and a topless blond too. Take it from me, Hunter Thompson.

In passing, I have some requests. I’d like to visit Woody Farm one day. I won’t touch anything, and would actually be happy to drive up the driveway without getting shot at, and park. Then, I will go. I’d like to see ‘Polo is my Life’ finally get published. This sex book has been at least 10 years in the making. I know that because I got to ask you that question 8 years ago and you fed me some bullshit about it being published. I know there was a piece in RS with that title… but that isn’t. We are men of action, Hunter, and lies do not become us. In fact, isn’t ‘Polo is my Life’ the reason that Palmer Slater came over and the whole lawsuit thing started?
by the way, nice touch on that. I found the article. Here is what they found on their marathon search:
suspected drug paraphernalia
suspicious white powder
a few ounces marijuana
a few sticks of dynamite
a jar of mushrooms
a tape labeled ‘child porn’
39 hits of LSD

Normally, I would hyperlink this to a reference. However, this is from an actual hardcopy of the newspaper – from the actual saved article I have. Sunday, May 6th 1990 – Arizona Republic.

That isn’t what is great, though. After reading you for 20 years, that is about what I expected. What is great is that you got all those charges dropped and went scot-free. I mean, I think we all feel the sexual assault charge was bullshit. Also, we understand the warrant then becomes somewhat unjustified… but seriously:
how the fuck did you get caught with cocaine, pot, pills, acid, and dynamite… and walk free? In fact, you probably had the balls to demand it all back since it was seized illegally. You were fucking nuts, and I think that is why I worshipped you. I lived vicariously through your bad judgment and good friends.

So go live well. We’ll take care of your peacocks, and Juan will take care of the shattered family left behind. Anita made a point about not selling the Owl Farm. Good! Let’s make it a Hunter Thompson museum. I know Brinkley has probably a thousand pounds of material of yours he is working through. The Owl Farm is the best character in all your books, like the same Rocky Mountains were in Aspen’s other famous talent – John Denver.
You are missed, and I wish you well. Don’t worry, I’m listening to Mr. Tambourine Man and sipping whiskey… you asshole. Take care.


“There’s a train leaving nightly called ‘when all is said and done’, keep me in your heart for a while”
– Warren Zevon

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About Lono

  • Fantastic, Lono.

    A few years ago I “growed up,” which seemed to consist in large part of shedding most of my tendencies to mayhem. Most of those tendencies were shaped in the crucible of Hunter Thompson’s writing back when I was young and impressionable and invulnerable.

    If it weren’t for HST I’d ‘a never spent two years of college wearing a fishing cap and smoking Winstons through a filter-tip holder, staying up all night drinking mickey’s bigmouths and cranking out stream-of-consciousness A papers for class. If it weren’t for HST I’d ‘a never gotten my first gig freelancing, much less never become a writer in the first place. If it weren’t for HST I’d ‘a never learned that the best writing I can do places me in the middle of my subject, embracing rather than avoiding my biases and my impact on events. If it weren’t for HST I’d ‘a never found myself in the middle of that lake at 3 AM, heavily embeered and hemmed in by fog, staring at the infinite blanket of stars among me, wondering if I would drift there in the boat forever or whether I’d make it back to land. Before Hunter I was a good kid with a mullet and an overactive conscience. After Hunter I was… different.

    I don’t do the crazy stuff any more with the beers and the stunts and the life-threatening hijinks, and it always made me a little worried that Hunter didn’t knock it off as he got older. I guess the Reaper didn’t come check in on him on occasion like he does for others. (Or maybe Hunter just told him to fuck off.)

    His effect on people of a certain mindset was profound – life-changing or life-affirming even (Christ, Lono!) – and its a shitty shame he punched his own ticket like he did. I hope his afterlife is a great big load of nothing, because he could use the rest after the DIY heaven and hell he made of his life on Earth.

    Thanks a million, Lono, for this heartfelt and moving tribute.

  • For those who might be going to Woody Creek regardless, the funeral explosion and subsequent fireworks are set for exactly at sunset (which is around 8 pm down here in Denver). That is official news from the family.

    other comments from the same article:

    But Moseley noted that interest in the event is “off the charts” and people from around the country are driving into town.

    The funeral includes private security. DiSalvo said his office had no “intel” that hordes of uninvited – whom he referred to as pilgrims – would descend on the Aspen area.

    “What we’re basically gearing up for is any traffic, or any pilgrims who might be going up to the event,” he said.

    Sheriff’s deputies will post “no stopping” signs in the area and increase their presence from a standard three or four officers in the Woody Creek area to about a dozen at least on Saturday, DiSalvo added.


  • I will be posting constant updates to my website throughout the weekend. Also, I expect to have a photo somehow of that cannon by early next week. Check in over there (my site), as it is easier for me to update there than to constantly post here.

    I already have 3 new articles up as of Thursday morning


  • Self-Righteous Bonobo

    We weren’t given any reason to feel sorry for old broken crippled and diseased Hunter. There are no tears to be wasted, only celebration.