The Hunter S. Thompson Version of Zen

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Zen is a very hard term to define, mainly because we don’t read Chinese and the guy who delivers our chow mein is called Steve. But our basic understanding of it is that it doesn’t involve slapping people around the head. Unless of course your name is Hunter S. Thompson.

Spend enough time on the internet and you will come across dozens, if not hundreds of stories about Hunter S. Thompson being a crazy badass, like the time he rang Bill Murray at 3AM proclaiming that he’d just invented shotgun golf. Or that other time he was asked by a terrified student to sign one of his many books, and he responded by shooting at it. That’s just the kind of man Thompson was.

But perhaps the story that best sums up Thompson was when he ordered a degree in the mail that made him an official “Doctor of Divinity” for no other reason than he was Hunter S. Thompson and because he could. Confused about how exactly this gave Hunter any credibility on balancing one’s Karma, Don Johnson, yes, the same Don Johnson who was on Miami Vice, sarcastically asked Hunter to explain to him what the sound of one hand clapping was.

We're imagining that he was dressed exactly like this at the time.
We’re imagining that he was dressed exactly like this at the time.

Hunter, calling on his dozens of minutes of Divinity professorship, responded to this age-old riddle by calmly opening his palm and slapping Johnson across the face as hard as he could. According to a later interview with Johnson, he had ringing in his days for three days afterwards, which we guess answered the shit out of his question. The sound of one hand clapping sounds like a slap to the damn face.

More Interesting Facts About Hunter S. Thompson

Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Writing of Hunter S. Thompson (Paperback)


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