24) What (insert well know person) would eat if they were vegan.
I was fourteen hanging out in the coffee shop when my older, cooler -I was hopelessly in love with- friend Jaymz handed me Kurt Vonnegut’s collection of essays Wampeters, Foma & Grandfalloons. He held the book open on page 231, a three page essay of admiration and concern for Hunter S Thompson’s health, titled ‘A Political Disease’. Jaymz told me to read it. And I did. I looked up at him and said ‘I need to read Hunter S Thompson.’ I found dad’s copy of Hells Angels and read it cover to cover, sunset to sunrise and knew I was a fan for life.
In ‘A Political Disease’ Vonnegut describes the New Journalism he considered Thompson to be a pioneer of as ‘…it is the literary equivalent of Cubism: All rules are broken; we are shown pictures such as no mature, well-trained artist ever painted before, and in the crazy new pictures we somehow see luminous new aspects of beloved old truths.’
In the fall before I turned 16 I decided I wanted a tattoo and it would be Thompson’s insignia on my right calf. I caught a ride up the valley to the larger city where the only legit tattoo parlor was -this was 1994, we now have six tattoo parlors in town. The artist didn’t ask my age. I had dark blue hair, two lower lip rings -I think kids these days call them snakebites?- two tongue studs, a nose ring, an eyebrow ring and several up my ears. He just put on Slayer’s Reign in Blood, lit a cigarette and asked me to throw my leg on his lap.
Thompson has a famous quote from The Great Shark Hunt about the kind of breakfast he relishes. It is an insurmountable description of food, alcohol and drugs. The internet loves to take this quote seriously and maybe there is merit to it. I personally take it as the voice of his crazed alter ego Raoul Duke. Thompson was notorious for excess there’s no deigning it but in the spirit of imaging what Vegan Thompson would eat, I made exceptions.
This meal would be mid day as he wrote through the night. There would be a stack of papers and mail to pour through and breakfast would be taken at leisure. I made the Cherry Sage Sausages -minus the cherry- from Vegan Brunch and the Sun-dried Tomato Frittata from Vegan with a Vengeance; I added thinly sliced potato to the bottom layer, toast with the Garden Herb Spread, cherry tomatoes, grapefruit and black coffee. I could see him eating this on a regular basis rather than his infamous breakfast quote people love to remember him by.