talking to the barkeep

“correctly so,” I told him,
“I would have them
robbing banks and selling
I’ll have another vodka-

“correctly so,” said the
barkeep mixing the
drink, “I’d have them
collecting garbage
or running for congress
or teaching

“or,” I said, reaching
for the drink, “selling
flowers on the corner
or giving backrubs
or blowing glass…”

“correctly so,” said
the barkeep
pouring himself a
drink,” I’d have them
plowing the good
earth or
carrying mailbags…”

“or,” I said, “mugging
old ladies or
pulling teeth…”

“or directing traffic
working the factories,”
said the barkeep, “or
jumping freights to
the nearest harvest…”

“it’s a great day,”
I said.

“beautiful,” said the
barkeep, “but it’s the
mediocrity of the masses
which creates the
wealth of its entertainers
and artists.”

“another vodka-7,”
I said, “the earning of
money is hardly proof of
the worthiness of the

“if I were the audience
of the world,” the barkeep
said, moving the drink
toward me, “many a darling
genius would either be
starving or working a
functional job.”

“and correctly so,” I
said, raising my

“it’s a beautiful day,”
said the barkeep.

“a hell of a beautiful
day,” I said.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript