Lovecraft, Lovecraft-H.P.

Old Bugs

Old BugsOld Bugs

At a particular bar there was a man whom everyone knew as Old Bugs. No one really knew where the came from, but the man just kind of wandered in one day and would do anything for a drink. He swept the floors. He mopped. He did this. He did that. He took many drinks, but was not particular fond of the idea of drinking. Some supposed that once he had been an intellectual, but no one knew for sure. The only clue they had was a photograph of a woman that he would take out from time to time.

One day, someone brought a young man in for his first drink. This was a custom at this particular establishment, so it was not out of the ordinary. The young man went on to speak about who he was. He came from such and such place. His mother was a poet. His father did something or the other. He was the child of two intellectuals and was due to start college soon.

Upon hearing about the young man, Old Bugs went into a fit. He gave a speech about how dangerous the drink was. He slapped a drink out of the young man’s hand. The young man certainly did not take a drink that day, especially after Old Bugs fell down dead. No one knew his name, but the only thing on his person was the photograph of the woman.

The young man, named Trevor, upon looking at the photograph recognized the woman, but did not say he did. You see, the woman in the photo was the young man’s mother. She had once had a fiance, who had been an intellectual, a professor, a young professor, who fell to the drink. After he was gone, she hastily married Trevor, the elder. The young man took charge of Old Bugs’ body and made sure he had a proper burial.


Certainly Old Bugs is really Trevor’s father. You don’t get married lickety-split for nothing, usually a baby is involved, sometimes a baby belonging to someone else.


This story is definitely one of morality. It paints drinking, as a habit, as a bad thing, which it certainly can be. I’m not opposed to the idea of the occasional drink, but being an alcoholic is certainly a bad thing. There was the temperance movement, as we know, which I feel this story was catering to. Yes, drinking alcoholic style is bad. It can certainly ruin your career and make you disrespected. It can lose you people who are close to you, but not every drink a person takes will lead them down that path.

Generally, if one wants to avoid developing a bad habit, one never partakes of the habit, which is sounds reasoning. If you never want to be an alcoholic, never drink alcohol; don’t even take the first sip. This is certainly one way to prevent yourself from ever developing such a habit.

As far as the alcohol can ruin your life part of this story, it’s true. I’ve seen it. I used to work in a nursing home and I had more than one man, yes, they were always men for some reason, come into the nursing home at a very young age because they had destroyed their bodies and minds by drinking so much. I’ve seen a forty-one year old man die because he drank and drank and drank until he ended up in a nursing home, ultimately only weighing about sixty pounds.

I appreciate the lesson in this story, but I do think it’s a bit over the top. I do hope Trevor took all of this into account when he decided to make his life choices though. Surely someone who had been so close to his mother would have a greater bearing on the decisions he made in life.


Don’t be a drunk. It really can’t get more simple than that, at least as far as this story is concerned.

Weigh In

Do you think Old Bugs was Trevor’s father?

Is alcohol really so alluring that one would leave their family and career behind?


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