You might expect the son of a man who started his day at 3pm with a glass of Chivas Regal and a line of cocaine and finished it eating fettuccine alfredo in the hot tub to be similarly decadent and depraved.
Or perhaps not - perhaps people with wild parents are just as likely to go in the opposite direction as those with very sensible ones.
This is certainly true of Juan F. Thompson, the son of Gonzo journalist Hunter S, an IT Program Manager ‘with 15 years of experience successfully implementing and managing large and complex applications and EHR/EMR/ERP systems’ working in Denver.
“You ended up, despite all the craziness, pretty tame,” Salon put it to him. “You have a pretty normal life. You live in Colorado, you work in IT. Was being normal, for lack of a better word, a way to rebel?”
I think so,” Juan replied. “At the time, it certainly wasn’t conscious or deliberate. I think it was a reaction against the uncertainty of the craziness. First of all, Hunter was a freelance writer, so there was no guaranteed income. My mom’s full-time job was taking care of Hunter and me until the divorce. So that was definitely a part of it, the financial uncertainty.
“But secondly, as a kid and as a teenager, I knew I did not want to live like my father did. For the most part, I rejected the drugs and the drinking. And I think just by my nature, I’m not like him. He was just born that way. He was just born to be Hunter. I don’t think there’s anything in his upbringing—I don’t think, had things been different, he would have ended up an insurance agent like his father. That wouldn’t have happened.”
Juan just published a memoir, Stories I Tell Myself, recalling the 41 years he had with his father living in Woody Creek, Colorado, up to his death from suicide in 2006.
As for why he decided to write the book, Juan explained: “I think part of it was reconciling with my father as a writer, as this caricature, and as the guy I grew up with, as my father. There’s truth in all of them. But I really needed that distance from his death.
“And I don’t know if I used these exact words in the book, but for those people close to Hunter, there was a very strong sense of loyalty. You have to protect Hunter. You have to be loyal to him. That was an imperative, and that was my first instinct in writing the book. Of course, I’ll protect him.”
- More about:
- Hunter S Thompson