What's All This Then?

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Fear And Loathing
In Las Vegas

by Hunter S. Thompson

Field-Tested by Whitney Pastorek

in St. Lucia, Caribbean

I have never gone in much for the debauchery, especially of the tropical vacation variety, and for a long time I believed this was because I’d been deprived of opportunity as a child. My family was more of a national parks and Civil War battlefields tribe, partially for financial reasons and partially, I think, because my parents honestly enjoyed torturing us. When I was in junior high, there had been a short trip down to Cancun that ended painfully when I fell asleep outside with my feet propped up on a table and couldn’t walk for a couple days from the sunburn. But outside of that, we’d been chained to our pop-up camper for what seemed like an eternity. Imagine my surprise then when, about three years ago, it was announced that over Christmas vacation, the Pastorek Family was going on a cruise. I packed a stack of paperbacks and threw in Fear and Loathing as a last-minute whim. It had never really interested me before, I think, because I had too many friends in college who were obsessed with the movie. Anyway.

The first day of our ride on the friendly seas, I pulled Mr. Thompson out, applied sunscreen liberally to the bottoms of my feet, and settled in to read. And I swear to you, that book did something to my head. Next thing I knew, I had found the only other 20-somethings on board our floating retirement colony, tossed back about 17 gin and tonics, and was watching the sun rise through a haze of pot smoke that I was pretty sure was coming from the joint in my hand. And that was how I spent six days and seven nights (although I remember virtually nothing about the days, except that we went to Chichen Itza and I took a gazillion pictures with no film in the camera and cried for like an hour). I did not read any of the other books I brought with me on the trip, because after five pages of Fear and Loathing, I was back at the bar. When I got home, I set the book on fire and vowed to never touch hard liquor again, and my beer belly is now a testament to the fact that certain people can live certain lives, and other people had better stick to being white trash at the campground.

Whitney Pastorek is a Senior Writer at Entertainment Weekly and executive editor at Pindeldyboz. She can be found at her website.

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