Page 51. " like Billy the Kid, with all eyes on me, I walked slowly through the town, looking in windows, stopping for cigars. I broke that town in half like a wooden match "

Billy kid
Public DomainBilly kid
Billy the kid was a notorious outlaw, sensationalised through American folklore as one of the true gunfighters of the old west. However warped the Kids history may be, it seems correct for Chinaski to relate to him with his outlaw status and macho persona.  
Page 51. " I met the town doctor in the street. I liked him. He was always high on drugs. I was not a drug man, but in case i had to hide from myself for a few days, i knew i could get anything i wanted from him "

Drink was Bukowskis choice of stimulus, he dabbled in drugs but it was more than likely to hear him criticising them. Even though for a while he did write for ‘High Times’ a title dedicated to all things drugs.  

Page 54. " Around the world in 80 days. I never did like that song "


Chinaski was being driven mad by the song ‘Around the world in 80 days’. It was the theme tune from a popular movie at the time, and has been re-recorded by countless artists. The first version was in 1956


and a hammy remake was released in 2006.



Page 55. " You could get security in jail, 3 squares and no rent to pay, no utilities, no income tax, no child support. No license plate fees. No traffic tickets. No drunk driving raps. No losses at the race track. Free medical attention "

Homeless Man.jpg
Creative Commons AttributionHomeless Man.jpg
The idea that is better to go to jail than to be homeless is a common argument amongst a number of homeless charities.

Page 59. " The little dog laughed "

This is the only poem in the entire book even though the author was a dedicated poet, its part of the classic nursery rhyme ...

Hey diddle diddle,

The cat and the fiddle,

The cow jumped over the moon,

The little dog laughed to see such sport,

And the dish ran away with the spoon.



Page 61. " For Christs sake Steve McQueen could not have done better "

Steve McQueen was a heart throb, rebel actor who liked racing motorbikes, a true champion of the people. His legacy lives on to this day with 'The Great Escape' one of the many films in his filmography, which is played every Chrismtmas on the TV in the UK.


Page 63. " There was quite a bit more anti-Russian then than there is now. "

Cold War propaganda in the States was often pushed through public institutions. The Cold War was a conflict of ideologies that has shaped the world today in almost every possible way and almost ended the world as we knew it.


Page 65. " Maybe you will end up the president of General Motors "

 In the 1950's Henery Ford's General motors was the largest American car manufacturer. The company was at the forefront of mass production, this is where the term 'Fordism' in economics come from.

Page 68. " So now it's the parakeets! Are they molesting you too? "

Chinaski was working night shifts and the Parakeets were keeping him up, he ended up setting them free in annoyance. Parakeets is a general term for small parrots, often kept as pets.

Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeParakeet.JPG - Credit: Iaminfo