Bye Bye, Doc
Hunter Thompson takes to the skies:
Things are shaping up nicely for Hunter Thompsonâ€™s final blast-off this Saturday. The 150-foot tower, from which Hunterâ€™s ashes will be blasted, is on Hunterâ€™s Woody Creek property. The ashes have been placed in 34 shells by Zambelli Fireworks Internationale.
Zambelli workers custom-designed brown paper cylindrical shells that will be used in the aerial display. The shells will be launched from a monument modeled after Thompsonâ€™s Gonzo logo: a clenched fist, made symmetrical with the addition of a second thumb, perched atop a dagger….
Actor Johnny Depp is funding the event, which organizers estimate will cost roughly $2.5 million, to fulfill the vision that Thompson detailed in a 1978 BBC documentary and to his friends and family leading up to his suicide.
Some more details:
Held up by a dozen guide wires toward the edge of a horseshoe-shaped landscape, the gonzo sculpture is positioned less than a half mile from Thompsonâ€™s main house and is encompassed by two tree-covered hills and a red canyon wall. Fifty feet of faux boulders encircle the sculpture, which is 12 feet around at the base and 7 feet at the tip. The red-clothed fist rises 17 feet, 6 inches and is 16 feet wide and 10 feet deep. A rainbow of colors will shimmer through two peyote buttons â€” one of which will be spinning â€” implanted in the fist.
Not surprisingly, the construction effort was labor intensive. 60 workers put in 10 hour days for weeks on the project.
The guy had a flair for the dramatic, no two ways about it.
After me and all the dogs are gone I want our ashes mixed together and carried to some high, rocky point overlooking the Oregon coast and buried at the foot of a tall pine tree so we can always look down on the beaches where we put in so many mornings chasing sea gulls, romping in the waves and peeing with impunity on random pieces of drift wood. Well actually I was the one who got to carry the tennis ball launcher and wear the leashes around my neck (where I kept them in case of emergency and more than one person commented “well we see who’s in charge here har har”), but you get the idea.
I keep forgetting to entrust this task to my 12 year-old nephew Jacob, so I’m hoping he reads this. And Jacob, make it a nice, high, hard-to-get-to and impossible-to-build-on spot, okay? If you get lazy and dump me under some tree behind the Newport Wal-Mart I’ll come back and haunt you, I swear I will.