San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. And that, I think, was the handle - that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting - on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark - the place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
I read Fear and Loathing while studying to become a journalist - it was that type of book that just blew my mind as a 19 year old kid trying to figure out what he wanted to be in the world. A Gonzo journalist sounded perfect... Eventually I decided to do other things, and never really got the hang of that extreme decadence a Gonzo journalism lifestyle would've required. But that dream is still out there. Seriously, I'd have to say that one book definitely changed my life. And if I think about it... years before I ever thought of living in California, I remember reading this famous quote from Fear and Loathing clearly (before I knew it was so well known) - who knows if the reason I'm here now is really in some odd way due to Uncle Duke?