Page 1. " “Postal Personnel are expected to maintain the highest moral principles” "


This is from the postal code of ethics. The United States Post office is an institution held in high esteem ever since Benjamin Franklin became the first Post Master General in 1775. 

Benjamin Franklin as seen on the $100 Dollar bill. 


$100 Dollar Bill, B.Franklin
Public Domain$100 Dollar Bill, B.Franklin





The strong code of ethics has been portrayed in such books as the Postman (made into a film). Bukowski is renowned for his questionable morales so this is a very ironic entry to his book.

Page 1. " “God all these mailmen do is drop letters and get laid. This is the job for me, oh yes yes yes” "

Women along with drinking and gambling were the foundations of Bukowskis writing.

Page 7. " “What a job, I thought. Soft! They only gave you a block or 2” "

This is a unconventional use of grammer. Subtle things like this consolidate Bukowski’s rejection of classic writing methods.

Page 9. " “You stank, you ran with sweat jamming it into the sacks” "

Bukowski was notoriously hygienic, enjoying up to four baths a day. Something very different to his image as a 'dirty old man'. In his own words - “Nothing is worse than to finish a good shit, then reach over and find the toilet paper container empty. Even the most horrible human being on earth deserves to wipe his ass.” —Factotum, Black Sparrow Press, 1975.

Page 10. " MR JOHNSTON IS A FINE MAN!” Don’t be silly he’s obviously a sadist”. "

This dialogue occured after Chinaski wrote a report of complaint about how the job was flawed. But he left saying that Mr Johnson is a fine man. He also complains that the “Union man was worthless”. Very typical Bukowski who recognised the hopelessness of the underclass, being ignored and trodden on by the powerful.  His grave reads “don’t try”.

The impossibility of delivering the mail come up in Bukowski's writing throughout the novel. For a contemporary take on this see the recent dispatches documentary Post Office Undercover

Page 10. " “I didn’t care I had been up till 2am drinking and screwing with betty” "


Bukowski talking about hangovers, something he had a lot of experience with

Page 11. " “He did that to me once, he tried to starve me” "

Chinaski was essentially a temp, temps have few employment rights, contracts are feeble and they are a dispensible workforce. It is a method used by corporations to reduce the power of workers. The contemporary comentator Naomi Klein gives a very interesting account of this in modern business in No Logo and other works.

Page 13. " “With one snap of his jaws he could rip off my balls” "

Postmen are notoriously harassed by dogs. So much so that the German post office has started giving lessons in dog phychology.

Angry Dog
Public DomainAngry Dog


Page 14. " “I would have fought them both but there was that dog growling and lunging between them” "

Bukowski was tough. He puts it down to being beaten by his father as a child. When he was 16, he came back drunk and was sick on the carpet of the family house. His dad rubbed his face in vomit, Bukoswski punched him, knocked him clean out. That was the last beating he got from his dad.


“I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church” He did not believe in god or religion, as with any other institution he was scathing of it.

Page 16. " The sewers can swallow the water fast enough "
U.S. Sewer cover
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeU.S. Sewer cover - Credit:

For an interesting account of sewers and their failings see the facinating book by Rose George, The Big Necessity.


Page 17. " 17.“When you shorts get wet they slip down….down around the cheeks of your ass” "

Having baggy trousers is now a fashion, a fashion in some states that has been made illegal.

Low riders and gold pants
Low riders and gold pants (375 * 500)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLow riders and gold pants - Credit: Victoriapeckham



Page 21. " I noticed stalled and abandoned cars all around "

L.A often suffers from bad weather. After this adventure delivering post in the rain Chinaski ends up parked on a submerged front lawn.

File:FEMA - 1593 - Photograph by Butch DuCote taken on 06-20-2001 in Louisiana.jpg (500 * 375)File:FEMA - 1593 - Photograph by Butch DuCote taken on 06-20-2001 in Louisiana.jpg
Public DomainFile:FEMA - 1593 - Photograph by Butch DuCote taken on 06-20-2001 in Louisiana.jpg


Page 25. " the old ladies had been sending in letters to Nekalayla filled with money "
Scientology Protest 03-15-2008 quote sign 02.jpg
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeScientology Protest 03-15-2008 quote sign 02.jpg - Credit: Shane Pope
New religions and cults have often popped up in LA, they have been criticised for exploitation and brainwashing. Perhaps the most famous religion/cult to come out of LA is Scientology which has caused much global controversy.