3. Ham on Rye

Bukowski’s Ham on Rye is a masterpiece in more ways than one. One of the reasons why I kept the name of this blog Breaking Bong was because of this book.

You see, Ham on Rye is a pun for Catcher in the Rye. Similarly, Breaking Bong is a pun for Breaking Bad, but with Bong instead. It sounded funny to me.

Bukowski has literally put it plainly what the book is all about, and yet we never really paid any attention to the title.

Have you ever seen anyone eat Ham on Rye bread?

I am sure not, I feel it’s Indian equivalent would be Dal Roti, the simplest, cheapest meal that there is to fill your stomach.

Now when I think about it. A coming of the age novel, set in the era of the Great Depression. How is Ham on Rye not the apt title for the book?

And after he grew up, it was biting down on just Ham with some Rye whiskey. Again Ham on Rye.

Respect! What a perfect name. And we not knowing what is in the book, not being able to connect to the book, or not connecting the title to the story proves how fortunate we are, compared to the people who lived during Depression-era.

Ham on Rye. I just can’t get this idea out of my head, what an apt name for a book set in one of the poorest eras in history.

What would be an apt name for a book set in the lockdown era? What is that thing that binds us today, which we all talk about every day, but for most people in not so distant future, maybe 20 years, it would be a term as alien as Ham on Rye, and they won’t be able to connect to it as much as we do?

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