How My Life of Happy Materialism Came to an End

Photo by Brandon Green ( by Brandon Green (

When I was a young man, I began searching for the meaning of life. Along the way, I wrote a travel journal, a mix of prose and poetry, and labelled it Fool’s Odyssey.

London was so sweet. I loved her grinning granite Bacchuses and horns-of-plenty on nearly every corner. I was enrapt by her history, her strands, her mews. Still, the voice in my heart continued to drone, “Yes, but it’s not enough. It’s not what you came for.” So I tried to drown it in the wake of my newfound intoxication over things. Later, in my journal, I wrote:

I pronounced the wretched street-caller preacher

shouting in my head

three days gone and stinking

and certified him dead.

I gargled like a burgeoning beaver

illumined like an eel

I swam to the outermost extremes

of my personal bastille.

But then one night, as I wove my way past begging alcoholics, whose only mission was to forget, and made my way down into the Underground, I wrote a bitter rebuke to myself:

“In this brave new basement, this world of coughing antonyms and eyeless molehobbos begging back their souls, how am I any different?

How is their half-life dream of cut-rate wine or paraffin

any less whole than the poshest dream of whitening in the sun,

the resplendence of things that eat you slower,

but leave you just as done?

I am one of them, I said in my heart,

and I’ll eventually end up a spiritual derelict,

stalking the morbid night of my own invention,

and beating incessantly at the dome of my own imaginary heaven.

“I am one of them,” I said in my heart.

“No! No, I’m not one of them!” said the Fool. “I’m happy like Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, happy with my new life!”

“I made me great works,” replied the Wise Man, “built me great houses, gathered me silver and gold…more than all who’d come before me. But then said I in my heart, ‘As it happens to the Fool, so it happened to me.’”*

That night I came home to my little hotel room, and sat staring at the apples and chocolates on the dresser, until I finally fell over and went to sleep. My week-old dream was losing steam. I was cold…

I guess from the loss of steam.

*Ecclesiastes 2:4, 15

To read the next episode, click here.


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Poetry, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to How My Life of Happy Materialism Came to an End

  1. Pingback: My Life of Happy Materialism in London | Mitch Teemley

  2. Materialism is the nature of forgetting what should be remembered, what should hurt, because truth cannot be buried while dead.

    There are some things we cannot kill. The most immaterial, are those things. It is because we can choose death, yet life cannot be done for the same. We do not choose to live. We simply reject what could end ourselves, in the burial of truth.

    We cannot deaden a pain nor harden ourselves, without it coming back to twist ourselves even more. We must face truth. Deception will only make the inevitable dawning of truth, only ever more powerful. And, when it at the power in which we are unable to withstand, it overcomes us because we were never prepared.

    At the individual level, I believe the “second coming” of Christ references this. A revelation, whether of good or evil, to a truth directed upon our faces. Perhaps he’d not return, in the flesh. As humans, we kept Christ, or truth, buried. We attempted to kill it. To believe it or he was dead, and then, it or he (Christ) rose. Now when Christ will return for the second entrance into this world, seems that no one will be prepared.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Andrew says:

    Very inspiring story

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Very much in the spirit of Qoheleth, Mitch. Some pretty profound and thoughtful stuff here and really marvelous word smithing.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. K.L. Hale says:

    The notes you left in your journal spoke volumes to me. What a beautiful and poignant awakening. I always enjoy your posts, Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Love it Mitch. Once upon a time I attempted to write a journal. I still have some of the entries, but they seem like dross compared to this. So instead I began writing memories. they alone were mine, but when I began sharing them they became the memories of others who lived them with me. Much better that way.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. ADD has a few advantages, one of which is figuring out very quickly that “stuff” doesn’t satisfy for long. It saves time. 😏

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I never tire of Ecclesiastes. So much truth. Enjoyed the continuing saga of your youthful venture.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. oneta hayes says:

    A bit deep and heavy today. But filled with truth. If things/doings were not sufficient for Solomon with his unlimited resources, I would be sad put if that is what I had to have to satisfy me. What the Lord provides is for free! Amen to that.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ChallEngEr says:

    This is beautiful repentance 🌼

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This series was so interesting for me to read because I feel like I’ve been in the same boat, in a way. I recall being so content at my first job – my salary wasn’t that high, but I felt rich because I could afford what I wanted and needed, I liked the work, and I had plenty of free time to do what I wanted. Fast forward about a decade or so to now when I am earning well over three times that old salary, but I don’t feel content because now, I know other people are making more money. I keep chasing something very material that I know isn’t going to make me happier.
    The poetry from your journal is stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. gpavants says:


    What a powerful picture of a broken man whom the Lord had better plans for.



    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: When Your Dream Runs Out of Steam | Mitch Teemley

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