Welcome to our new column in which we republish articles and interviews with legendary figures that originally appeared in the print edition of High Times. To launch the series, we’re bringing you this May, 1978 piece by Andy Warhol—on his birthday.
First of all, it’s best to be born fast, because it hurts, and it’s best to die fast, because it hurts, but I think if you were born and died within that minute, that would be the best life, because the priest says that way you’re guaranteed to go to heaven. He says you’re born to die. “Born to die”—you could write a song about it.
I know that I love to live fast because my favorite things are the fastest—the new Polaroid Super 8 movie camera, the Roy Rogers Family-Style Restaurants, pushbutton telephones, Xerox machines, my cameras and Sony tape recorders, the Concorde, drive-in movies (because you can go in your pajamas). And my favorite person is Tom Seaver, because he pitches the fast ball and he gave me the fast bat I’m holding in this picture taken by the fastest photographer in America.
Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to live as fast as I could, so I always try to find ways to do things faster: I like to sleep fast, that’s when you just snooze, and I like to love fast, that’s when you just have a one-night affair (but remember, a fast person can never have any kind of relationship with a slow person). And I really like Swanson’s TV dinners when you have friends over, because there are no dishes to think about afterwards. When I get up in the morning, it doesn’t take me any time to get ready for work because I wear the same thing every day. So uniforms are great, and the fastest uniform today is the jumpsuit: you just jump in it, jump out the door and jump to work.
Some people complain that you should have slow sex—like in India I heard that it takes 14 hours—but then they have all these problems with, what do they call it, premature ejaculation? See, I always thought that was the best kind. You should never even get it in before you come. I mean, you might be able to get to the point where you just shoot it inside your pants thinking about it, and that would really be the best.
Frankly, in my opinion, there’s nothing it’s good to do slow, so the only thing is, how to live fast if you live slow? I don’t know anyone who takes amphetamines anymore, but if you could hang around girls who take diet pills, because they’ll get you nervous and jittery and that makes you go fast. Or just hang around people who yell at you—that makes you go fast. But what really makes you go fast is if you knit: you never can stop once you get started, and it teaches you that it’s best keep doing something all the time because that way you live faster and faster. I paint faster now, because I use a sponge, and I make movies faster, but I think new movies will be even faster, like only half an hour. I mean, for me time goes by so fast I find myself asking everybody Friday if it’s still Monday.
Funnily enough, America isn’t the fastest country. They live faster in Japan, but the Japanese are such completely different people you can’t make any comparisons. And anyway, fast Americans are the most glamorous people: they do more, see more, learn more and get more money because they get fast money. I love to live fast, because then you don’t have to think about anything. For example, writing this took me four minutes—which is the time it takes to eat a Big Mac—so I did it in my lunch minutes, and I was glad because, instead of just eating and talking to the kids in the office about my problems, I was eating and writing an article for High Times, so I got more done and made more money and felt better faster. And that’s what we’re here for, isn’t it?