Harold Lloyd in Safety Last
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.
The plane finally left, commencing the longest day in history. We chased the moon around the sky, or maybe it was chasing us. It was like a special effect in a time travel movie–the moon never just called it a day. “Like me,” I thought. I wrote in my Journal:
My life is like
a Warner Brothers’ cartoon:
I’m forever bounding
down some bogus turnpike
toward some fake tunnel
that always turns out to be
painted on the side of a mountain,
and getting splattered against
the hard face of reality
again and again.
A million variations
on the same tired gag—
that’s my life.
I became discombobulated, as they say in…wherever it is they say things like that. But finally, gently, I wandered into a humble sleep, whilst overhead the angels waged their cosmic wars.
First, I dreamed I was a paranoid Pauline in her perils, just one step ahead of some faceless enemy. And then, I was a heavenly Harold Lloyd, clumsily edging my way along the ledge of Heaven. And each time I slipped, the gathering crowd in Hell would yell,
“Jump, jump, jump!”
Then suddenly, I was back on the plane and a stewardess was handing me a piece of paper on which I had to indicate who I was and what I was bringing back into the country.
“Nothing,” I wrote, “nothing” was what I was bringing back. In fact, “nothing” was the answer to the first question, too. To every question.
“Jump, jump, jump…”
The plane had landed. It was early morning in L.A. Now what? I couldn’t bear to go home. Oh, I was no waif in a storm. I had a home. Which is to say I paid rent to someone. But I really didn’t seem to live…
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