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The Real Gonzo Body Wisdom

Hello.  The warm snap is over and the bitter cold is here! It finally feels like winter in Manhattan rather than a weird tropical city. Now that the temperature has plummeted, the gyms are packed with people getting their endorphin fix.  Seeing all the white tennis shoes and bare legs running vigorously on treadmills through the big windows at the W. 80th & Broadway Gym tonight, made me think of some HST wisdom about the Human Body. It’s good HST wisdom to start the week.

Yup, the human body is a temple.  Hunter often liked to point out one unique and beautiful aspect of the human body:  It’s powerful ability to heal itself, given the chance.  Some people abuse their bodies for years and years but, when they decide to start taking care of it, even later in life, it responds like a finely tuned Ferrari – well, maybe a finely tuned minivan in some cases, or a finely tuned Mac-truck, or a finely tuned Subaru, et cetera…

Although Hunter had an unusual constitution which gave him the ability to ingest quantities of substances that would down an elephant, Hunter was no fool; he paid attention to his body’s needs.  The following is from one of Hunter’s last interviews with Tim Mohr from Playboy Magazine. 

Grapefruit is vital to my lifestyle. I eat grapefruits, oranges, lemons, kiwis. I also need something green with every meal — some vegetables on the plate. Even if it’s just some sliced tomatoes and green onions in a pinch. It’s both aesthetic and healthy. If I take a look at a plate and see brown, gray, white, I can’t eat it. I want to see some red and green.

Drink six to eight glasses of water a day. When you don’t drink enough water you lose your taste for it. When you’re chronically dehydrated the body misses it, but it has a self-fooling mechanism where you don’t think about it. Then you have to reeducate your taste buds for it. At first you can’t drink much pure water. I’ve worked up to five or six glasses a day. At first I could barely do one.

I had started the hydration process before I broke my leg in Hawaii at Christmastime in 2003. Everybody had been telling me. I was going into the Aspen Club — to the sports medicine department — to learn to walk after my spinal surgery earlier that same year. I wasn’t supposed to recover from that.

I’ve really enjoyed my body. I’ve used it. One of the things I’ve been most impressed with in my life is the resiliency of the human body: They did both my spinal surgery and my leg surgery without putting any metal in me. No metal, Bubba.

–Hunter S. Thompson, Playboy Magazine Dec 2004

I’m in a melancholy mood tonight and want to add something to the above wisdom. Meals were very important to Hunter, and aside from watching him at his typewriter, perhaps it is watching him enjoy his food that I miss most.  I took great pleasure in cooking for Hunter on a daily basis, and recommend, if you are lucky enough to have someone in your  life who eats, to cook a great meal tonight  and enjoy each other’s company: It’s good for you. 

Until next time, your friend,

Anita Thompson




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