Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Almost Derby

Here in Louisville, just about everything and everyone is geared up for The Kentucky Derby, the 136th of which will be run on Saturday. If you have never been to The Derby or Louisville during the weeks leading up to The Derby, you have missed one hell of a good party! Unless, of course, you are from Louisville, as I am. Then there are times that all of The Derby stuff just kinda gets one down. (YAWN)
What I am leading up to is the first blog post that I ever wrote. It was posted to Nick's Bytes way back on May 6, 2005. It's about The Derby and it's about another Louisvillian, Hunter S. Thompson, and I have reprinted it right here:

Tomorrow The Kentucky Derby is run here in Louisville. I really don’t know if I shall pay attention to it. Several years ago I found myself standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon in Arizona on the first Saturday of May. Another resident of Louisville spotted my license plate and asked me what I was doing on Arizona on Derby Day? I began giving him an explanation of my trip when I stopped and asked, “Well, what are you doing here on Derby Day?”
He smiled and said, “I find being anywhere but Louisville the best place to be on Derby Day!”
I agree with him.
Last night I was driving home from a visit to Pennsylvania. It was almost midnight when I turned west from Cincinnati for the last leg of the trip. I was surprised by the large amount of traffic on the Interstate, but mostly surprised by all of the stretch limos that passed me. I had completely forgotten about the Derby until then. And, with it being brought to my attention, I had to fight the urge to drive back to Pennsylvania.
Yes, I like horses. I have even enjoyed watching and betting on a horse race. But there is something about the hoopla that takes over this town in the last weeks of April through the first Saturday of May that turns me off. It is as if the city goes crazy.
It isn’t that I don’t like crazy, but I rather prefer my own insanity to the insanity of others. In that respect I suppose that I am like another man born in Louisville: the recently deceased Hunter S. Thompson. When you read Thompson, you just feel his madness! But it is a craziness that was purely him and it was within him and generally wasn’t the result of others or situations created by others. Hunter’s craziness came completely from within Hunter.

 Hunter S. Thompson

That’s the way I like to be: crazy. I don’t need it coming at me from around me and I certainly don’t want to join in the madness of the Derby hoopla. All of that tires me and even this writing about it wears me out.
Speaking of which, I had best end this blog and get ready for tomorrow. I have a Kentucky Derby party to attend.


  1. I really liked that, I really like being crazy too, but MY brand of craziness.

    Hope you are able to survive this year's Derby. I definitely don't envy you.

  2. This is a good essay. I remember you writing about Hunter S Thompson but I don't remember you writing about the derby.

  3. I'd like to see the Kentucky Derby one day... It probably does come on British television, but probably on channel 500-&-something, satellite-only...

    ... after all, if it's good enough for the Queen of England ~ she was down there like a shot last time she was in America ~ then it's good enough for me. If I knew anything about any of the runners by the way do you know I could place a bet at the shop round the corner... is it true they don't have betting shops in America? Lovely places they are. I remember when they were debating proposals for a series of UK super-casinos some years ago ... these out of touch MPs yabbering on about how someone could walk up to the roulette table and drop a month's wages and who could stop them?

    What these well meaning idiots did not realize is that in every betting shop the length of this fair island... and there are 10s of 1000s of them ~ I have THREE within 3 minutes' walk ~ anyone can drop the same month's wages straight into the roulette MACHINE... which eats up so many £1000s per day that the lady who works there has to empty it several times, it takes so much cash that an unemptied machine would be a security risk. I met her on the bus once and got talking and she said "where these people get the £400, £500 to feed that machine I have no idea"... "but it's their entire week's wages" I said and she nodded sadly.

  4. You and I are too much alike, Nick...

  5. You've been blogging since 2005???? Gosh!!

    Enjoy the Derby party Nick. :)

  6. Silver Neurotic: I like the idea of being crazy or eccentric or an iconoclast! As long as it's on my own terms. My kind of craziness centers on the needs of the oppressed, the hungry, the homeless. etc. In the process I may snub the aristocrats and the wealthy, something my mother thinks doing is seriously crazy!

  7. Theres a small but nationally recognized racetrack a few miles from me and its similar on a very much smaller scale. Either do it whole hog or flee...

  8. There has to be a commonality to the madness that makes people want to share in each other's craziness. I understand it very well if it comes to something I am passionate about. But if I am not so passionate about something that other people are getting all crazy about----THAT definitely scares me.

    Have fun, Nick! Enjoy the weekend! :)

  9. We do not have a derby in Nashville but the Iroquis Steepchase has a similiar horsey attitude. I avoid hwy 100 and Old Hickory Blvd that day. I do however, love to watch from afar, TV were the best idea for crowd control. heehee. BTW my niece works for the airlines and had to serve lots of drinks to those headed to Louisville so they were buzzed when they got there.

  10. Mua ha ha ha! I'm glad you like to be your brand of crazy... I like to be my brand of crazy....

    We could have a crazy party! Or something.

    Oh, and by the way, if you want crazy, you should see Lucas!

  11. PS I also like Hunter S Thompson's crazinesss rubbing off on me.... sorry, I keep getting interrupted by Lucas who's telling me to brush my teeth, excuse me....

  12. It's been awhile and like the look you've chosen.

    Never figured you for a Thompson fan, but why not??????

    BTW, there are plenty of us with that same craziness for those less fortunate, and those of us working harder for less.

    sometimes, I really miss the '70s.

    Hope this finds you well!!!!