Bukowski’s (all new)
NOTES OF A DIRTY OLD MAN
(an excerpt from his 1982 Smoke Signals column)
I have a saying, “You will find the lowest of the breed at the
race tracks. ”I am there almost every day working out my various
systems, writing the long 30 minutes between races. I don’t know how
many of those 30 minutes I have given away over the years, sitting
there waiting for a race that is generally over in a minute and nine
seconds. And at the quarter horse races most of them are finished
in 17 seconds plus a tick. A racetrack never has a losing
day. For each dollar bet they give back 50 cents. It
doesn’t matter, the people continue to play. Check the faces at
any track going into the last race. You will see the story.
When I came out of the Charity Ward of the L.A. County General
Hospital in 1955 after drinking ten years without missing a night or
day (except when in jail) they told me that if I ever took another
drink I would e dead. I wet back to my shack job and I asked her,
“What the hell am I going to do now?”
“We’ll play the horses,” she said.
“Yeah, they run and you bet on them.”
She had found some money on the boulevard so we went out. I
had 3 winners, one of them paid over 50 bucks. It seemed very easy.
We went out a second time and I won again.
That night I decided if I mixed some wine with milk it might not
hurt me. I tried a glass, half wine, half milk. I didn’t
die. The next glass I tried a little less milk and little more
wine. By the time the night was over I had been drinking straight
wine. In the morning I got up without hemorrhaging. After
that I drank an played the horses. 27 years later I am still
doing both. Time is meant to be wasted.