July 2nd is the 53rd anniversary of an epochal event in American literature: the suicide via shotgun to the mouth of Ernest Hemingway.
His wife Mary and sons Bumpy (Jack) and Mousy (Patrick), claimed Hemingway left no suicide note. But it’s inconceivable that the finest writer of the 20th century, had nothing to write at the end.
After more than half a century, we have found Hemingway’s suicide note! Read it and take its message to heart:
July 2nd 1961 6.14 am.
Mary, Bumby, Mousy, Rest of Gang...
Been thinking. Tough after all the electro-shock. But here goes.
What will Hemingway leave behind? A few good books? OK. That ought to be it for the obit. ‘He wrote a few good books.’
Yes, there was the drinking and the hunting and the whoring and the fishing. And the talking about the drinking and the hunting and the whoring and the fishing. That was all good too. But that was for pal consumption. By invitation only.
Always hated the star part. Shy as a doe under this elephant hide. Only thing hated more than signing name on checks to the tax-man, signing it on dog-eared editions of The Sun Also Rises. But hating fame doesn't keep it away. Swat a fly, ten more appear.
Do they read even the few good books anymore? Nope. Only people who read The Old Man And The Sea were thirty Swedish nitwits in Stockholm. The Nobel Prize for Nitwiterature.
So what has Hemingway left behind? Well, this...
Every young punk with a Liberal Arts degree and a chinful of fuzz and his huevos bursting with juice, wants to be...Hemingway.
Two generations of them now. At least the one in the ‘30s had some politics, fought wars, fished fish, whored whores. Knew how to read and shoot and drink and talk. A few even knew the back end of a bull from the front.
But this second one, these crew-cut corn-fed Eisenhower mommy-boys? Who’ve never seen a comrade shot dead at their side or an elk breaking cover at first light? With their butts like the fenders of a ‘55 Chevy, unread paperbacks in the back-pockets of their chinos, babbling bits of Spanish to each other but never to Spaniards, the only hard muscle in their soft bodies that faithful drinking arm...
They think all that is...being Hemingway.
In Havana, the Floridita was full of 'em. Couldn't go in there anymore. Key West the same. '59 encierro in Pamplona, punk comes up in the Txoko Bar, me talking quiet with Antonio after a good fight... Wants me to drink from his damn bota. Threw it in the street. Him after it. Can't go back there either. Won't be able to go anywhere soon. World full of wanna-be Hemingways.
That’s all Hemingway’s really left behind. A bushy salt-and-pepper beard and an ever-faithful drinking arm.
Time to check out, gang. A quick clean kill.
The sun also sets.
But here's the beauty part. Forty, fifty years from now, when all the wanna-be Hemingways are old and fat and their chin-fuzz is fried to bristle and their huevos are dried up like figs in a dusty street... But they still want to do it all like Hemingway...
They'll have to eat a shotgun too.