A wild & wooly tale of sporting excess
By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist

OK, boys, this one is going to be short and hopefully quick, because of my wound and the terrible excitement it has generated -- along with the grief and the pain and public humiliation. ... Yes, we are living from one moment to the next tonight in the Chateau Marmont, never knowing if the next word on this page will be the last -- for now, at least ... who knows what will happen by midnight?

After my unfortunate encounter with an oddly configured hotel window (now shattered), I lost enough blood yesterday -- or was it Friday? -- to keep two or three people alive for 22 hours. Or at least it looked that way to the manager and the frightened workers dressed in biohazard suits who were ordered to mop up my blood. The manager wrung his hands and tore his hair when he saw the damage and tried to call an ambulance for me.

Harsh words were spoken, as I recall, and several suites had to be closed off, on a max-capacity weekend. ... There was a flashy convention of Gucci executives, a movie-crew busily filming the last days of Warren Zevon, and a profoundly violent gathering of famous actors and huge dogs who were here to launch the production of a gamey film called "The Rum Diary" in 2003.

This was the reason for my own participation, if only because I wrote the book. Johnny Depp was here, along with Benecio Del Toro, Nick Nolte, and the goofy child prodigy Josh Hartnett of "Black Hawk Down" fame. ... The idea was to meet and quarrel calmly for two or three days during the final weekend of the World Series.

Emmitt Smith
Emmitt Smith was not the only one who set an all-time record over the weekend.
Ho ho ho. Events went wildly astray on us -- like it did for those people who went to that theater in Moscow last week expecting to take in a stirring performance of "Nord-Ost."

Indeed. We are living in unnaturally savage times, folks. And Emmitt Smith is not the only one who set a new record last week. My own individual record for spontaneous blood contribution in public will hopefully stand forever. ... It was something like 2.4 pints, liberally distributed on the walls of a top-floor suite that need not be identified at this time. ... It is enough to say that the spectacle was far beyond the visual horrors of anything ever involving my old friend John Belushi or even the Manson family. ...

Whoops. Strike that. Nobody was killed because of my episode, and the only obvious casualty was me. I was sliced up so grossly that I almost ...

What? Get a grip on yourself, Doc! Remember your manners. We are, after all, dealing with longtime friends. ... Calm down and tell us about Sunday night and the great victory.

***** ***** *****

But first, let me tell you about this vision I had. Maybe it was all the blood. Who can know for sure about these things.

Carson Palmer
USC doesn't have the horses, but Carson Palmer deserves the Heisman Trophy.
In my vision, Beano Cook is saying he "has no idea who will win the Heisman Trophy this year. ..."

But I do.

Try Carson Palmer from USC, who has a bitching arm and a nice habit of lulling a defense to sleep with normal stuff, and then breaking their backs with long weird strikes to the heart. ... Sudden death: WHACK! Right down the middle -- so fast that it catches you flat-footed, two steps behind and stupid.

Indeed. We have all known that feeling from time to time -- even Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice. There will always be somebody faster. But not many. ... And just about everybody will be significantly slower. Always. Speed is a precious commodity in America.

Carson Palmer, however, is not fast, and USC is nowhere near unbeaten -- which is fatal, for the Heisman, I suspect, so he is a very unlikely long-shot in December. ... Miami's hot-rod QB, Ken Dorsey, is truly impressive, and no doubt the favorite, but only as long as Miami keeps winning. Dorsey is fast, strong and scary confident. He is a winner -- just like I would be if I played QB behind that offensive line. That is what makes Miami so daunting. They have the horses.

It would be nice to believe in a Miami-Notre Dame finale, but that is probably too much to ask for in these bleak and deadly times.

There are too many bleeding X-factors running around, too many holes in the boat. ... It makes me oddly nervous, today, about feeling happy in public. And I don't feel any urge to be 22 years old again.

***** ***** *****

Of course, Sunday night. It was a nasty day for many more people than just the San Francisco Giants. ... They deserved what they got. They were dead before midnight Saturday, after blowing a five-run lead with only eight outs to go. It was pitiful.

Paul Wellstone
Sen. Paul Wellstone's shocking death hit the "Rum Diary" crew especially hard.
By Sunday, my nerves had gone all to pieces, along with my attitude, and I was sorely in need of a football orgy. The time had come to laugh out loud at something, anything, even a frenzy of subhuman violence like pro football. It was also time to gamble heavily and take long risks for no good reason at all. That is the nature of unacceptably rotten losing streaks.

The first disaster was my own near-death experience with the blood-bath, after my hand went through the window and the walls began turning red -- a rich, crimson as in arterial spurting from what appeared to be my palm. ... It was more human blood than I had ever seen in my life. ...

That includes more experience with public bleeding than your average bloodthirsty sports fan will ever conceive of, much less admit -- not because I feel guilty about anything, but because I have learned over time that most people simply don't like blood. It is as simple as that.

There may be a nice way to deal with too much blood all at once, but I'm damned if I know what it is. ... There is vampirism, of course, but I don't recommend it -- or anything else that involves uncontrolled bleeding. It is one of those specialties that is best left to the handful of queasy specialists who do it professionally, like combat medics and blood-bankers.

Right. And so much for that ghoulish raving, eh? Many worse things happened last week. Washington, D.C., was paralyzed by killer-snipers who murdered nine or 10 innocent bystanders, Moscow was stunned by another mass slaying of hostages by Russian soldiers, and Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota was killed in a disturbingly familiar plane-crash that very nearly included Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Click here to buy Hunter S. Thompson's book, "Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist."

But that is another story, eh? For another time, another place, like they say. ... Yes, but you don't always get that choice, in the real world. And Sen. Wellstone's death hit the "Rum Diary" Crew especially hard. It would have ruined my weekend, even without the bloodbath. ... And it utterly destroyed Josh Hartnett, age 21, who was on his way back to Minneapolis to personally campaign for Paul Wellstone, when he heard the news of his death. It will be a nasty scar on his brain for the rest of his life.

I know these things. My brain is covered with scar-tissue. I was 22 when JFK was murdered, and I will never recover from it. ... Never. And neither will Josh. Take my word for it. Those things are forever.

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's books include "Hell's Angels," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72," "The Proud Highway," Better Than Sex" and "The Rum Diary." His new book, "Fear and Loathing in America," has just been released. A regular contributor to various national and international publications, Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colo. His column, "Hey, Rube," appears regularly on Page 2.



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