Point/Counterpoint pt 1

Erin Roof

Gone gonzo … with blood and ink

“He had left his elegant hoof prints upon the lives of countless people, and now he’s gone.”

— Writer Jake McGee on the late Hunter S. Thompson

Most of my closest allies reacted to the suicide of the Good Doctor, Hunter S. Thompson, in the same way: a week of excessive drug and alcohol consumption, crying, fainting and beating our brains against the reality of a world he divinely set at our feet so we may pick up the hatchets and flashlights and broken bottles to continue his never-ending search for the American Dream — without this man’s genius.

The hazy, mangled chaos resulted in Ralph Steadman’s owl creature design from the back of Thompson’s “Screwjack” tattooed on my friend Aaron’s bicep.

“I’m taking this to my grave,” Aaron proclaimed with his sleeve rolled up, admiring his new art as he stood among the myriad empty bottles and cans, various bags and filled ashtrays — relics from our strung-out devotion to the gonzo lifestyle.

Aaron paid tribute to the Good Doctor in a way I have been debating since Thompson’s death: with flesh. My immediate reaction was to run to the tattoo parlor and carve the gonzo journalism logo into my skin with pure black ink. Every round of tequila in honor of Thompson made the idea sound even better.

But each groggy morning, or afternoon, I tried to talk myself out of it. How would a double-thumbed fist and dagger look on an aging professional journalist and, God forbid, wife and mother, I thought. I also have an intense fear of needles. Nurses have to hold me down to take my blood. I cried and shook as my nose was being pierced three years ago. And, come to think of it, I don’t think Thompson had any tattoos, either. Though, after hearing tales of him shooting ether — and I am sure other foreign substances — into his belly button, I doubt he was afraid of needles.

I don’t care what anyone does to his or her body — so long as it doesn’t involve taking up AK-47s and blasting the faces off of Iraqi children. (I knew readers were wondering how I would fit that in.)

I am of the ilk that believes in the mantra, “You only live once.” So why not spend your days living and looking like you want to? If that means rebelling by getting a tattoo or piercing — then rebel. Rebellion does a heart good. That is why as soon as I was free from my high school’s anti-piecing dress code, I got a nose ring. I love it. To me, nose rings are attractive, fun and shiny — all good attributes in my book.

Getting a tattoo and/or piercing is giving the proverbial middle finger to the majority. It is digging out your own image in this bland, depraved flesh pit of conformity.

Rebellion gets the juices flowing, friends. This is a good thing.

Erin Roof is a junior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].