Ninety-five years ago today, one of my favorite writers, Charles Bukowski, was born in Germany. Time called him the “laureate of American lowlife” in 1986, and I don’t think there could be a more vivid or fitting description of my beloved Bukowski.
He was a womanizer, a dirt bag, a hard-core gambler, a smoker, a helluva drunk and, thank the Lord above, a writer above all else.
Despite his many shortcomings, his semi-autobiographical works that starred his literary alter-ego Henry “Hank” Chinaski” were nothing short of miraculous, nothing short of lyrical missives about the life he lived, the women he fucked, the drinks he drank, the horses he bet on, the un-glittery side of glittery Hollywood and the jobs he hated.
I first began loving him with “Post Office,” but our affair together truly began with the emotional “Ham on Rye,” which caused me to have my first openly crying episode on a New York City subway train. If you haven’t read Bukowski and want to start, I suggest you crack the top on this one first.
I may not have been aware of you while you were living, Hank, but I sure am proud to help you live on long after you’re gone. I’ll raise a toast to you tonight, good sir, and hope you’re sitting at your typer with a well-aged glass of something to quench your thirst with a buxom lady by your side.
Happy birthday, big guy. Happy birthday.