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This Is What It Was Like To Be Raised By Hunter S. Thompson

Just because you might have a weed stash you’re hiding from your kid, don’t worry — you’re no Hunter S. Thompson. While the literary icon and father of gonzo journalism was getting down with Hell’s Angels, up on magic mushrooms, and busy with booze-fueled gun parties in the woods, there was a wide-eyed 2-year-old toddling around in a cabin close by.

That toddler is now grown family man and generally normal Denver-based IT guy who just published a memoir about growing up Thompson. In a recent interview with Esquire, Juan Thompson reveals what he thinks of the father who was more preoccupied with penning a rum diary than parenting, and it’s not all fear and loathing — but there was plenty of fear. Besides recollections of Thompson being unabashedly absent, financially irresponsible, verbally abusive, and .. you know … on acid a lot of the time, Juan also remembers a guy who recognized that his out-of-control lifestyle was probably not a good idea for his progeny.

Credit: Gustavo Medde

While Juan is in many respects the exact opposite of his father, the apple didn’t fall entirely beyond view of the tree — he ultimately settled into a decent relationship with his father through their shared love of guns and hatred for Richard Nixon. And he actually appreciates the fact that Hunter taught him precisely the type of father he didn’t want to be: a legendary gonzo one.