the telephone has not been good of late, in fact, it has seldom been
good, but of late there have been more and more calls
from people who want to come over and talk
from people who are depressed
from people who are lonely
from people who just don’t know what to do
with their time;
I’m no snob, I try to help, try to suggest something that
might cure their problems
but there have been more calls
more and more calls
and what they don’t realize is that
I too have
various factors to overcome
and even when I don’t
it’s often fine
and even necessary
just to be alone and quiet and
doing nothing.
so the other day
after many days of listening to depressed and lonely people
wanting me to cure their self-pity,
I was laying there
enjoying looking at the ceiling
when the phone rang
and I picked it up and said,
“listen, whatever your problem is and whatever you want,
I can’t help you.”
whoever it was hung up
and I felt like a man who had escaped a dull
I napped, perhaps an hour, then the phone rang
again, I picked it up:
“whatever your problem is
I can’t help you.”

“is this Mr. Chinaski?”


“this is the receptionist at your dentist’s
office to remind you
that you have an appointment at
3:30 tomorrow

I told her I’d be

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript