Charles Bukowski Post Office and Its Sad Truths

Someone told me my writing reminded them of Charles Bukowski. I was intrigued. Now I’m in love. I decided to start at the beginning and picked up the first Charles Bukowski novel, Post Office. I loved it. Bukowski has been quoted as saying not to expect much from the book but I adored it.

charles bukowski post office novel reviewPrice, Reviews, & Excerpts

Even though the book is set in the 50’s and 60’s, I was struck by the myriad sad truths of today’s working man that Bukowski’s “protagonist,” Henry Chinaski, and his associates at the Post Office tussled with back then.

Chapter 16, like many of the chapters, is brief, and somewhat depressing in its relevance. However, this particular chapter stands alone as a solitary short story which revolves around the career of a Post-Office worker named G.G.

“He had been a carrier since his early twenties and now he was in his sixties. His voice was gone. He didn’t speak. He croaked. And when he croaked, he didn’t say much. He was neither liked nor disliked. He was just there.”

“He’d stop and sway, go into a trance, then snap out of it and stick some more letters. I wasn’t particularly fond of the man. His life hadn’t been a brave one, and he had turned out to be a hunk of shit more or less. But each time he faltered, something tugged at me. It was like a faithful horse who just couldn’t go anymore.”

One day before his route, G.G. was overwhelmed by an impossible amount of work and had a breakdown. He ran up to the locker room and sobbed. When Henry told the supervisor that G.G. needed attention, the supervisor responded: “Who’s manning his route?”

See What Others Are Saying

It’s such a classic tale of take care of the business first, the employees second. I have had some shit jobs. Accounting wasn’t particularly kind to me. The stuffy atmosphere of the CPA world was full of judgment and stifling characters. I was angry by the time I finished typing that last sentence, that’s how bad I hated it.

Like Henry Chinaski’s position in Post Office, one of my sales jobs allotted me limited minutes to leave my station to use the bathroom, take a break, or otherwise be away from my desk. 30 minutes to be exact. The micromanagement made me feel like a child, or an caged animal. In either instance, child or animal, absolute obedience is the expectation.

Bukowski closed the short chapter with this sad paragraph:

“I never saw G.G. again. Nobody knew what happened to him. Nor did anybody ever mention him again. The ‘good guy.’ The dedicated man. Knifed across the throat over a handful of circs from a local market – With its special: a free box of a brand name laundry soap, with the coupon, and any purchase over $3.”

Stories like G.G.’s, fictitious or not, hit me heavy. I feel pity for the working man and his plight. However, I am not about to tout social justice and demand employers change for their workers. Not for one second. Employers don’t owe you anything but a wage. The agreement employees enter with their employer is hours for dollars. Plain and simple.

Instead, I’m demanding employees take control of their own lives and stop allowing themselves to be victims. Stop feeling trapped in your job. Stop feeling like you have no choice, no options, no escape. If you don’t like your job, quit. Get a better job. Or make your own money.

I’m going to continue presenting examples of regular people making money outside of their “real job,” and show you it can be done. It has been done. You can do it. Nobody is special. My friends and I don’t have special gifts or abilities, we just won’t sit and take it on the chin. We don’t want to be wage-slaves forever so we’re doing something (besides whining) about it.

See my interview with lawyer and entrepreneur Donata here

See my interview with high school student and entrepreneur Ray Clark here

My novel, Hang-Ups and Hangovers makes me money while I sleep. It’s not a lot, yet, but I don’t have to clock in for those dollars. If you haven’t, buy it now. If you’ve bought and read it, now would be a great time to drop an Amazon Review. Thanks. Love you.

Click here to see Post Office on Amazon

About the author

Kyle Milligan

I'm Kyle Milligan. I really enjoy writing. I wrote a couple novels (The Hang-Ups and Hangovers series) and now I blog frequently on a bunch of different websites. I also enjoy lifting heavy things and and writing about it.

Leave a comment: