By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist

There were some very weird football games on Sunday -- amazing comebacks, stunning failures and one stupefying tie in Atlanta that turned out to be my only win of the day. It was the ugliest thing I ever saw.... And, ye gods, I have another game coming up within hours, and I fear it. Perhaps the time has come to give up gambling.

What? No. That would be impossible. It would be like donating all my blood to a charity event. Without gambling, I would not exist.

Right. And so much for psycho-medical gibberish, eh? Let's get back to the real reason for my degrading streak of dumbness that has brought me so low.... It was hashish, a vile and dangerous resin that can be ruinous or even fatal if it ever gets mixed up with significant gambling decisions.

Indeed. I know this from profoundly negative experience. Even second-hand hashish smoke can tip your mental balance in painful ways.... This is what happened to me when I placed my Bets on Saturday. I was ripped on second-hand hashish smoke, and I made a fool of myself. I also lost so many greenback dollars that I was reduced to paying off with cardboard I.O.U.s before the game even started.

So what? you might say. It can happen to anybody, and it does. Disaster goes with the territory, in this business. You just don't want to make a habit of it.

Donovan McNabb
Unfortunately, the Good Doctor's fortunes were in the hands of Donovan McNabb.

I have nobody to blame but myself, of course, and I have long preached that Dumbness deserves no sympathy -- but in my heart I believe that what happened to me could happen to any one of us, at any time, so I guess the moral of this story is: Don't let this happen to you.

Not all of my choices on that day were the direct result of my drug experience. A few were based on entirely logical assessments of the teams and the point spreads. . . . What kind of squandering jackass, for instance, would have risked real money on the giddy idea that the flaky Indianapolis Colts would beat the living snot out of Philadelphia Eagles? It was so unlikely and so shocking that I would have been embarrassed to be seen betting on it in public.

The final score was 35-13 for Peyton Manning and my man, Marvin Harrison, who ran wild on the vaunted Eagles' defense. At the end of three quarters, the score was 28-6 and Donovan McNabb had piled up 199 yards of total offense. It was pitiful.

Just then the phone rang: it was Warren Zevon, calling for advice on how to deal with Donald Rumsfeld, our Secretary of Defense. "He keeps calling me," he said. "But he never says why. It's giving me the creeps. I'm afraid to answer the phone."

"Don't worry," I told him. "I know Don. We were in the Nixon Wars together. I recognize his footprints. This is just another publicity stunt for his new image, as a closet rock & roll guy."

"That is bull," he said. "He's a cold-blooded monster. I used to date his daughter." He chuckled. "That's why he's calling me. He wants revenge."

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"You are right," I said. "He heard you were dying, and he wants a piece of your ass before you go. He Wants to be known as your buddy."

"That swine!" Warren snapped. "I don't have time for him now. I'm in the studio with Bob Dylan every day. Tell him I'll see him in hell."

"Don't get sentimental on me," I said. "I just got wiped out on my football bets. I was humiliated. I lost everything!"

"Yeah," he replied. "How about them Rams? Was that a beautiful game, or not?"

"Not." I said. "I had the Chargers and three. Yes. I also had Miami plus two and a half. My own editor beat me like a gong. He keeps betting the Jets and the Giants, and they both keep covering."

"Why don't you quit gambling?" he said. "You are turning into a loser."

I hung up on him and went back to analyzing the scores and the numbers, trying not to sink into a coma of grief and loss.... Why had Warren refused to let me tell my story about Princess Omin and my accidental dose of second-hand hashish smoke? And why I lost all my bets? What was wrong with him? Nobody wanted to hear it. All they wanted to do was laugh at me. Hell, I never dated Donny Rumsfeld's daughter. All I did was follow those tire tracks in the snow until they went straight off the cliff -- so I stopped my Jeep to investigate.... Ah, but that is another story and we don't have time for it now.

(to be continued)

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's books include "Hell's Angels," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72," "The Proud Highway," Better Than Sex" and "The Rum Diary." His new book, "Fear and Loathing in America," has just been released. A regular contributor to various national and international publications, Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colo. His column, "Hey, Rube," appears regularly on Page 2.




Hunter
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HEY, RUBE