MrMary Pontificates: I don’t like to be shaped by society…..

bukowskiLike anybody can tell you, I am not a very nice man. I don’t know the word. I have always admired the villain, the outlaw, the son of a bitch. I don’t like the clean shaven boy with the necktie and the good job. I like desperate men, men with broken teeth and broken minds and broken ways. They interest me. They are full of surprises and explosions. I also like vile women, drunk cursing bitches with loose stocking and mascara faces. I’m more interested in perverts than saints. I can relax with bum because I am a bum. I don’t like laws, morals, religions, rules. I don’t like to be shaped by society

Charles Bukowski, South of No North



AllforabuckWhile I might not have been as much of a bum as I would’ve liked to have been, I whole-heartedly dislike and distrust both the clean shaven boy with the necktie, and the relentless attempts at social programming forced upon us. If it is any consolation I have lived by grace which means that for most of my life I have had to do without money, food, and the basics. Here is an example of living by grace.

This month all your bills have been paid on time for once but you’re left with just enough to make it to work and back for 4 days. You have no food just that giant plastic tub of a no-name vodka you bought two months ago when your last tutoring student paid you unexpectedly for the three sessions they owed. Monday you eat nothing all day and are beset with headaches. By Tuesday night you stop feeling the hunger pains.  Right when you’re about to take that fifth shot of vodka your neighbor for some reason give you a loaf of bread. They didn’t charge her for it at the market, and she wanted to see if someone could make use of it. You eat four slices that night two for breakfast, two for lunch and two for dinner. When you get paid Friday you turn your phone off and buy the lunch special at the Chinese food place. You smile because you remember going a month without food and eating at that end of that trial by fire, a large meal. Suddenly you’re in tremendous pain and while you try to keep from doubling over someone tells you look good because you’ve lost so much weight.

At least 3 times a week I walk about 10 miles total for the day. About 4.3 of those miles are through the richest and most scenic places of NYC. I pass penthouses, bump into effete millionaires with their little rodent looking dogs. I get to see clearly what it’s all about. I pass one luxury building overlooking Central Park and I say to myself  so this is what it was all for. I cannot help knowing the history of NYC and imagine that the road I am walking used to be the living space for the Lenape Indians. I walk by such amazing amount of affluence and can’t help thinking that all the genocide, slavery, wars, murderous acts were all for this. So many people have died and labored (and still do) under the impossible weight of oppression, for a small handful of people to life so amazingly well.

If you cannot see that the picture of democracy peddled out in school doesn’t match the reality of what our democracy actually is you are hopelessly deluded or just plain stupid. If you think our healthcare system just randomly out of the blue started to suck, and that ever widening gap between rich and poor came out of left field then there is no saving you. If you aren’t rich and think you vote stands with equal importance as one of the Koch brothers… you get where I am going with this.

I work hard to rid myself of as much social programming as I can, and in doing so I have come across some interesting people. One of the smartest and well read people I ever met was a drunkard who chose to be homeless and live off the grid. I’m not that extreme but I have always been surprised at the quality of clear thought and expression I have found in those on the fringes of society. I can’t help to wonder if seeing clear comes with the exacting price of relinquishing one’s social contract and in terms one’s respectability and value in the eyes of society. Either way I think Bukowski was onto something.




  1. I think this was great. I see a lot of people feeling bad because we are constantly told that being successful is the job, the car, the house, looking a certain way. People feel like they are not living up to that and they feel bad. I reckon it’s right what you say about people labouring and dying so that a lucky few can live well. I wonder how things can be different.


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