Hunter S. Thompson’s Harrowing, Chemical-Filled Daily Routine

E. Jean Car­rol­l’s 1993 mem­oir of Hunter S. Thomp­son opens like this:

I have heard the biog­ra­phers of Har­ry S. Tru­man, Cather­ine the Great, etc., etc., say they would give any­thing if their sub­jects were alive so they could ask them some ques­tions. I, on the oth­er hand, would give any­thing if my sub­ject were dead.

He should be. Oh, yes. Look at his dai­ly rou­tine:

3:00 p.m. rise

3:05 Chivas Regal with the morn­ing papers, Dun­hills

3:45 cocaine

3:50 anoth­er glass of Chivas, Dun­hill

4:05 first cup of cof­fee, Dun­hill

4:15 cocaine

4:16 orange juice, Dun­hill

4:30 cocaine

4:54 cocaine

5:05 cocaine

5:11 cof­fee, Dun­hills

5:30 more ice in the Chivas

5:45 cocaine, etc., etc.

6:00 grass to take the edge off the day

7:05 Woody Creek Tav­ern for lunch-Heineken, two mar­gar­i­tas, coleslaw, a taco sal­ad, a dou­ble order of fried onion rings, car­rot cake, ice cream, a bean frit­ter, Dun­hills, anoth­er Heineken, cocaine, and for the ride home, a snow cone (a glass of shred­ded ice over which is poured three or four jig­gers of Chivas.)

9:00 starts snort­ing cocaine seri­ous­ly

10:00 drops acid

11:00 Char­treuse, cocaine, grass

11:30 cocaine, etc, etc.

12:00 mid­night, Hunter S. Thomp­son is ready to write

12:05–6:00 a.m. Char­treuse, cocaine, grass, Chivas, cof­fee, Heineken, clove cig­a­rettes, grape­fruit, Dun­hills, orange juice, gin, con­tin­u­ous porno­graph­ic movies.

6:00 the hot tub-cham­pagne, Dove Bars, fet­tuc­cine Alfre­do

8:00 Hal­cy­on

8:20 sleep

Ms. Car­roll, you have my atten­tion, I do declare. But when I get a grip on myself, I won­der: How did she get ahold of this list? Did Thomp­son map it all out for her? Did he note it in a diary, or jot it all down on a nap­kin? Or did Car­roll observe him fol­low­ing this rou­tine while vis­it­ing his 7,000-acre estate in Woody Creek, Col­orado? And, if the lat­ter, you have to won­der whether Thomp­son always lived this hard? Or was this a bit of schtick, the nur­tur­ing of a Gonzo per­sona now decades in the mak­ing? It’s hard to know what’s true, or what’s not.

Mean­while, if you want to delve more deeply into Thomp­son’s dai­ly rou­tine, you can explore HST’s ide­al break­fast. It con­sists of “four Bloody Marys, two grape­fruits, a pot of cof­fee, Ran­goon crêpes, a half-pound of either sausage, bacon, or corned-beef hash with diced chilies, a Span­ish omelette or eggs Bene­dict, a quart of milk, a chopped lemon for ran­dom sea­son­ing, and some­thing like a slice of key lime pie, two mar­gar­i­tas and six lines of the best cocaine for dessert.” All eat­en naked and alone. Nat­u­ral­ly.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hunter S. Thompson’s Deca­dent Dai­ly Break­fast: The “Psy­chic Anchor” of His Fre­net­ic Cre­ative Life

Hunter S. Thomp­son Chill­ing­ly Pre­dicts the Future, Telling Studs Terkel About the Com­ing Revenge of the Eco­nom­i­cal­ly & Tech­no­log­i­cal­ly “Obso­lete” (1967)

Hunter Thomp­son Explains What Gonzo Jour­nal­ism Is, and How He Writes It (1975)

Free: Read the Orig­i­nal 23,000-Word Essay That Became Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971)

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.