Upon learning this morning of the apparent suicide of the legendary American writer Hunter S. Thompson, I was struck with one over- powering thought: I'm not surprised. Here is a man famous for blazing new, often controversial trails in the world of journalism. Here is a man who clearly lived life by his own terms, putting out into the public view habits and behaviors usually kept secret. Here is a guy who owned a compound stocked with peacocks and firearms. I recall watching an interview with Mr. Thompson one evening years ago (I believe it was 60 Minutes) where, just so the reporter would have some good footage, he spent some time shooting gasoline filled conatiners to see how big of an explosion he could create. I don't know if he ever attempted to blow up the peacocks.
While learning of the death of anyone who has died by their own hand is sad and unfortunate, I can't think of any other way Hunter S. Thompson would go. I suppose lung cancer or liver failure could also be considered possibilites, but those are just too mundane for Hunter Thompson. No, in the end, while the timing may be surprising, the method isn't. And while the world may never know the reasons for his suicide, what despair may have driven him, it is my guess that his suicide was Mr. Thompson's way of giving everyone the proverbial finger one last time. Perhaps he did it because it was the last great rush yet to experience. Perhaps he did it because all the other vices and chemicals couldn't give him peace. Maybe he did it because death is the last great untold story, and who better to cover the underbelly of the afterlife than Mr. Thompson? Even now he is probably at a typewriter hammering out the first draft of Fear and Loathing at the Pearly Gates. Well Mr. Thompson, no matter why you did it, I hope you rest in peace.