Doug Peacock, Elk, and HaydukeIsla Tiburon, Sonora, Mexico
From Walking It Off

I dreamed that night, a dangerously erotic dream (a reoccurring theme) of a female jaguar that left me with a strange openness. The same sort of vulnerability often surfaced after close encounters with grizzlies. I fed off danger, crisis, and tended to create disasters when domestic life was going well, becoming the kind of asshole for which there are modern psychiatric names. This addiction to risk could separate you from your own kind, even the closest people in your life.

Hostility, generally expecting the worst from people, had been my general approach to life since Vietnam. This was related to my friendship with Ed and further complicated by Abbey's creation of the fictional personality of ex-Green Beret medic George Washington Hayduke, the hairy, beer-swilling main character of The Monkeywrench Gang, a comic hero belied by the extreme social and personal limitations of a damaged war veteran, a man loosely based on the younger Peacock. There may be numerous ways to characterize a friendship of a volatile, unformed youth--a man who appeared to be a angry force of nature--with an older, successful, better educated and a generally more sophisticated man, but I return to the paternalistic model because much of the friction was due to a father-son-like relationship. The anger of the son kept the friendship arrested in this imbalance and anchored in a limited machismo code.

George Washington HaydukeOnce Ed published The Monkeywrench Gang in 1975 and it sold half a million copies, the character of Hayduke became famous in a lowbrow sort of way. "Hayduke Lives" was scribbled on bathroom walls in bars throughout the American West. This is hardly an endorsement of excellence, nor flattery of any variety; Hayduke, as a representation of Peacock, was a one-dimensional dolt. A mutual acquaintance of both myself and Abbey once remarked, in reference to the modeling of Hayduke on Peacock: “Friends don't do that to each other," meaning that in some way Ed was abusing our friendship. This is correct, in that the portrayal of George Washington Hayduke reflected the adolescent, wayward son, not the mature friend. To the extent I was seduced by the hype of George Washington Hayduke, and to a degree I believe I was, I succumbed even more to the anger. I plead guilty to all charges.

On the other hand, Abbey probably did me a favor in creating a caricature of myself whose dim psyche I could penetrate when my own seemed off-limits; Ed painted the ex-Green Beret Hayduke with precise brushstrokes as caught in an emotional backwater, a backwater out of whose eddies I wanted to swim. The only thing worse than reading your own press was becoming someone else's fiction.

Hayduke Lives On, Arizona Highways, January 2012Hayduke Lives On
by Kathy Montgomery, Arizona Highways, January 2012
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