“... and the magic-horse violence of me, of it, of everything obsessed me. I poked and rammed and jammed, and everything was pure.
“Then in the excitement the blanket fell back. I saw more clearly the head. The back of the head and shoulders – it was one Baldy M. American MALE! All went limp. I fell back in indecent horror. I fell back sick, staring at the ceiling, and not a drink in the place.”
Oh sure most anyone goes on about Humbert Humbert and possibly the hottest scene never seen. But really, how many people live in Vladimir’s thoughtful crazy intellectual world? At the time I didn’t know anyone like Nabokov, face it, I’ll never know anyone like Nabokov. But I know a whole lot of guys like my favorite Dirty Old Man. It was probably thirty-two years ago when I first read the above paragraphs.
In the middle of everything I’d quit my job building a high-rise during the downtown building boom. Told the boss, “I’m not feeling it today.”
“I’m not feeling it today, I’m leaving.”
“You sick? Hung over? Got the flu?” He removes his hardhat then tucks it under his arm sort of in a headlock. It was clear that he’d never heard such a request before. After all, it was only ten o’clock in the morning.
“Naah, I’m done that’s all.”
The seeming insanity of this, of me, fries his wires. His face turns red. “You can’t do that.”
“Oh, I can. Keep the hat.” I hand him my hardhat and skip off. On the walk home I pick up a sixpack of tallboy Rainer Ale, “Green Death” to the knowing. I climb up to the roof of my apartment house with Green Death, a bag of weed, and “Notes of a Dirty Old Man.”
Now when I first read Bukowski I thought, I could do that. I drink, I can write. Yeah. By the time I got to this particular untitled column I hoped that I wouldn’t. Bukowski drinks. Things happen when you drink. Unintended things. Like taking advantage of an unguarded keaster residing in your bed. He can’t see consequences because he’s been long in the no-trim desert and sunblind. Out there, shimmering on the horizon is the oasis, a “bulging snoring immaculate backside.” Buk simply can not help himself. Drinkers understand that the odds are with the house and you’ll never be the house. Sure, once in a while you win, mostly to hold faith, but mostly you bust. Funny thing, drunk, you never ever expect to loose. Drunk, you expect the shimmery headed girl in your bed to be there, or available, sort of, and to keep pretending to be asleep while you poke and jam and ram. When the deal starts to go bad, you figure it’s a bluff and add to the pot. Desperately show you cards, and you’re deep into a MALE! How did this happen?
Seven years later I’d had enough, I’d quit drinking because no matter how drunk I got I’d remember this Note from a Dirty Old Man. The way I drank I could never relax for fear that I’d find myself in bed channeling Bukowski. At some point it would be me in that bed and the blanket falling back revealing every drunks nightmare. “In the morning we awakened and nothing was mentioned.”