My second read of the year was Post Office, by Charles Bukowski. The Charles Bukowski.
As perhaps many others my age, my first foray into the works of the infamous writer was through the wonderful world of teenage angst and romanticised depression – Tumblr.
My dear, find what you love and let it kill you.
Oh, what a line.
The sentiment has turned a tad sour after meeting Mr Chinaski. It was going fine…until the rape scene. This book is touted as being loosely based on Bukowski’s life, and throughout the whole book I was dragged down by the nagging feeling that such a writer could indeed be a dirty old man. Is it wrong to perform the act you are wrongfully accused of having performed? Well, it ruined the book for me.
Otherwise, Chinaski is the sort of dirty, lazy and lecherous rascal one hates to like, but can’t help being amused by.
“There was one guy who wouldn’t let you put the mail in his box. He’d stand in the driveway and watch you coming for two or three blocks and he’d stand there and hold his hand out.
One day when I had the route, the man-who-holds-his-hand-out was a half a block up the street. He was talking to a neighbour, looked back at me more than a block away and knew he had time to walk back and meet me. When he turned his back to me, I began running. I don’t believe I ever delivered mail that fast, all stride and motion, never stopping or pausing. I was going to kill him. I had the letter half in the slot of his box when he turned and saw me.
“OH NO NO NO!” he screamed, “DON’T PUT IT IN THE BOX!”
He ran down the street toward me. All I saw was the blur of his feet. He must have run a hundred yards in 9.2.”
Chinaski reminds me of troublemakers in school. They were always the funniest.
He does have redeeming qualities – helping out with the pregnancy, not being greedy for someone else’s money, caring for animals…to say the least. He could be the poster-child for the phrase ‘No one is perfect’. It is easy to grasp why this celebration of drunken, aimless living is right at home at Tumblr. I liked it.