Hanging From the Ledge of Heaven

Safety LastHarold 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.

I was still in London, but it seemed there were no lives left to live anymore. Or to pretend to live, at any rate. So I bought a ticket for L.A., walked down that endless tunnel, and waited.

For what?

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…



To read the next episode, click here.


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Fool's Odyssey, For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Hanging From the Ledge of Heaven

  1. Pingback: Why? | Mitch Teemley

  2. rwfrohlich says:

    Discombobulated is an excellent word which conveys a precise meaning describing a very imprecise state of mind. I have been there.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I’m fond of “discombobulated” –and that’s the first time I’ve read of “Harold” OR “Pauline” in about 30 years. (Like you, they did their own stunts, right?) I’m glad LA turns out okay.. well, it leads to okay. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re a man of MANY talents, Mitch. I loved reading your poem. I hope you’re not discombobulated any more. I love that word xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There’s power in this story, Mitch. Can’t wait to see more!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great poem, but sadden to hear it’s message. I have been in that place before. “Discombobulated” and “nothing” are good descriptions for it. It’s not a peaceful place to be and I am glad that this is from the past. I hope your days like this poem describe are less than the ones full of joy, simple happiness, and fulfilling meaning.

    Liked by 1 person

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