Photo: Daily Mail
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.
Why? Why do we need to know why? We just do. I’d flown to London, leaving behind a half-baked faith in search of a simpler recipe. But each one I’d found—materialism, sensualism, idealism—had failed to rise. So, finally, like the Wise Man (newly ex-Fool) in Ecclesiastes, I’d abandoned every ism. Now what?
I took the hovercraft from Calais. It seemed strange to see the sea refract on the windows and feel the hydroplane hydro-plane. I watched everyone’s drinks fly up in the air in little time-exposure globs of booze as we crashed over each successive wave, looking for the white cliffs of Dover, hoping not to throw up. God, it felt good to be a landlubber again!
It didn’t take long to return to Victoria Station, where the first of my chain of delusions had begun. I’d thought in my desperation that even if I never found out why, I might at least live a colorful Hemingway-life full of happy, delicious despair. But despair was not the thing for me.
And besides, Hemingway killed himself.
For the first time in my life, I’d had to confront the fact that I wasn’t enough, that I was just a hollow brick. And yet I still needed to know why. The real why. Not one of the little ones. I mean, I didn’t need to know why farmers planted grain; they planted it to eat. But why were there farmers? It was that kind of question, and it wouldn’t go away.
Why couldn’t I just exist? I didn’t know, I only knew I couldn’t.
I walked around London all day, trying to recapture the feeling I’d had two weeks ago in my youth. But the problem is that the moment you realize you’re dreaming, you always wake up, and you can never get back to that dream place again. It’s gone forever, along with your innocence in believing…
It was real.
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