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Tuesday, January 7, 2003
Public Shame and Private Victory

By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist

I would like to take as much personal credit as possible for the San Francisco 49ers' mind-shattering victory over those poor bastards from New York last Sunday, but, alas, I cannot. It would be like Jack Nicholson beating his chest and bragging/boasting that he alone was responsible for the Lakers' last three NBA titles. Jack would never do that, of course. He is an honorable man and a totally loyal Lakers fan. He would never think of betraying them and calling them "doomed" just prior to another doomsday playoff with the Sacramento Kings -- never bet against them in public or scorn their genetic makeup, never curse them on the Internet or announce on TV that he was switching his love to the Clippers from now on. No. Jack is a decent person.

Indeed. And I, apparently, am not. Because I did all those hateful, treacherous things to the 49ers last week, and I did them as publicly as possible. I raved, I babbled, I even threatened to piss down their spines to consummate our divorce.

It was horrible, frankly, and I was deeply embarrassed by it on Sunday when San Francisco erupted from out of the bowels of football's foulest graveyard to play 20 minutes of the finest and bravest and most beautiful come-from-behind football in 49er history, to beat the crazed and bewildered Giants by one truly desperate point, 39-38.

Terrell Owens
The Good Doctor can look no further than T.O. to regain his faith in the Niners.
It was incredible, incredible. I came very close to going crazy toward the end. All around me, people were screeching and weeping and hammering on the bar like victims about to be executed. They were Giants backers, not just fans or fun-bettors. No. They were Players, high-rollers, serious hard-bitten people who had come from both coasts of America, England, Poland and even Switzerland for this annual orgy of gambling on the NFL playoffs&. These people have been here before, they know the rules: Unlimited betting, no violence, with no mercy expected and none given. Caveat Emptor.

It would not be fair, at this point, to continue this thorny saga without confessing that I had, in fact, bet heavily on the Giants to Lose by no more than three points. Ho ho. That's one way of putting it, anyway. Yes sir, I was wise, I was suave and shrewd to figure out some way to win my bet and remain faithful to the 49ers at the same time.

But that would be a lie, eh? Right. So let's have a look at what I was saying about the 49ers this time last week. To wit:

In a column titled "Death of the 49ers," I said, "They will go nowhere in the playoffs&. They are a puff-ball team with no soul and the Giants will beat them like sick rats&. I piss down the spines of the craven 49ers."

Wow. That is horrible, eh? That is really stupid, vengeful stuff. That is ugly and wrong. It sounds like something you'd hear out of some sleazy drunken sot. It is embarrassing.

I will not comment on that -- but I will say that I owe the San Francisco 49ers a profoundly sincere Apology for that berserk outburst. It was rude, and cruel, and degrading -- and most of all, it was Wrong, disgracefully wrong, dismally Wrong, painfully Wrong&. I fouled myself by saying it, I humiliated my family. They shunned me like some kind of filthy, stinking animal with evil in its heart, and I suffered.

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Hot damn! I feel wonderful now. I feel beautiful and pure, now that I finally got that dumb bitch of a Shame off my chest. I feel like my old self again, only better -- and I did, of course, Win so many, many complex Bets that day that I felt like a combination of Bill Walsh and Ghengis Khan. It was like winning some kind of brutal lottery, where the winner gets obscenely rich and all the losers get castrated. I felt almost Holy.

***

Ah, but those suckers are gone now -- (except for one or two that I look forward to fleecing again, this week) -- and things have calmed down around here, if only for a few nervous days, and then it will start building again. This is a hard life, out here in the wilderness, but it is all we really know, so we do the best we can, and we cope with it pretty well.

Which reminds me that I also won heavily with the Jets and the Falcons on Saturday. Heavily. You bet. Those foreigners got what was coming to them, this time around. Their luck ran out. They lost everything, and we had no pity on them. It was fun.

In one high-visibility situation, Anita flogged the arrogant Ewing brothers from Charleston so smoothly and so cruelly that they lost control of themselves. They had given NY, plus 3, and by halftime they were gloating and flouncing around the room like rich peacocks. It was disgusting. I was tempted to give both of them a taste of my 225,000-volt safety stick that I use against intruders -- and, right then, these two pompous bastards were looking very much like nasty intruders, to me&. But cooler heads prevailed, and the second half got underway without incident.

The score went from bad to worse almost instantly. The Giants scored easily, making a mockery of the SF pass defense. The score was 38-14, and the Giants were just getting warmed up. I could see 55 or even 66 lurking just around the corner. The 49ers seemed beaten, and bored. I gritted my teeth and began chain-smoking cigars, good cigars, just to keep my nerves calm and my temper deeply concealed.

Jeff Garcia
The Niners are no longer "a puff-ball team with no soul".
The game was interrupted now and then by White House-inspired commercials showing half-naked children smoking dope and killing each other with guns, or murdering a judge in Turkey, because stupid little Henry over here got weak and smoked a joint&. that Fool! He was just another useless victim of the War on Terrorism.

But so what? Wild things were happening on the TV screen. Suddenly the crowd was screaming and whipping on each other as the hapless 49er offense suddenly came alive like rock lizards. The lifeless worm of yesteryear was turning into an invincible golden snake with countless arms and legs. They were terrifying.

And the rest is History, folks -- it was like seeing the Frankenstein monster come alive with a brain full of lightning. The Giants were ripped to shreds. They were utterly demoralized. It was pitiful. They were like helpless bums being chewed up and spit out, right in front of our eyes. They withered and turned to jelly. I felt sorry for the poor fools.

Okay. In closing, I'll take Atlanta and Tennessee on Saturday -- San Francisco and Oakland on Sunday. That's it for now. Mahalo.

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.