Acid Heroes: the Legends of LSD

October 31, 2016

World class drinkers

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We were talking about world class drinkers the other day.  Could Ernest Hemingway out-drink Hunter Thompson, etc.

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Hunter Thompson drank virtually every day, all day long, for nearly 50 years. So it’s hard to beat that.  His wife said he would start with the beer right after his morning 5 cups of coffee. And then alternate the beer with whiskey throughout the day. Hunter Thompson drank so much that he almost died when he had hip surgery. Not from the surgery. But from the DTs from going several days without alcohol. I heard the doctors were even considering feeding him whiskey intravenously just so they could stabilize his metabolism.  What’s weird is: In spite of his massive substance abuse, his organs were in fairly decent shape at the time of his death. It was his bones — his back and his hips — that were starting to go.
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Charles Bukowski’s drinking was a little more complex.  As a young man he spent 10 years as a straight-up oblivion drunk who’s main goal in life was to drink as much as he could for as long as he could until he passed out. Then when he got the Post Office job he spent a decade or so as primarily a weekend drinker.  When he quit the Post Office to write full-time he went through another period of heavy drinking. In part to alleviate his fears that he wasn’t gonna make it as a writer. And because he no longer had to live a structured life and could drink whenever he felt like it.  He mostly went for rotgut wine and cheap beer, and hard liquor whenever he could afford it.  When he married his wife she got him off the rotgut and into fine red wines, and cocktails when they went to bars. I think in his later years he was mostly an evening drinker, staying pretty sober during the daytime.  During the last year of his life, when his health was failing, he quit drinking altogether. And said he didn’t miss it.
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Image result for jack kerouac drunk.
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I think Jack Kerouac mostly drank rotgut wine during his bohemian days. And his drinking was somewhat tempered due to his lack of funds.  He was more moderate with his drinking during the first half of his adulthood — at least compared to the second half. And there were periods — like in DHARMA BUMS when he had the look-out job — where he would go months without drinking. And when he was driving cross country with Cassady it wasn’t like they had a case of beer in the car.  But as soon as he became famous and had unlimited spending cash he went on a non-stop drinking binge, drinking from the moment he woke up until he passed out. And he didn’t STOP drinking until he finally blew a big hole in his stomach.   I think Kerouac was one of those incredibly over-sensitive people. And he drank to dull the wattage. And I think he was hopelessly conflicted. Couldn’t accept that he was gay, etc. And then the instant fame and cultural icon status just completely overloaded his circuits. The story I always heard was that Kerouac always wanted to commit suicide, but as a Catholic he was forbidden to do that. So he drank himself to death instead. Which seems like cheating. But what the heck.
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One wag suggested I should up my game and dedicate myself to reaching the level of these world class drinkers.  But I could never make the big leagues. I lack the truly self-destructive side that separates the superstar drinkers from the run-of-the-mill.  I am a powerful drinker. I out-drank virtually all my drinking partners over the years (they’re either dead or in programs).  But I have no illusions that I’m up there in the same class as the elite boozers.
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4 Comments »

  1. Papa Hemingway beat em all hands down. He took it straight to the logical conclusion without flinching.

    Comment by Jon — November 1, 2016 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  2. Andre the Giant…

    Comment by maui-da-trickster — February 11, 2017 @ 3:01 pm | Reply

    • I’ve heard about his legendary consumption of “mass quantities” of beer.

      Comment by Ace Backwords — February 11, 2017 @ 10:37 pm | Reply

      • Measured in the dozens. And he evidently never really got drunk. We begs the question…why?!

        Comment by maui-da-trickster — February 11, 2017 @ 10:54 pm


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