I read a news report this morning that got me to thinking. The headline stated “Calif. man bitten by shark says it came out of nowhere,” so I naturally concluded that the fifth dimension had finally been discovered. Nowhere had at long last been found. This led to some interesting thoughts about going there for a look, and that led to the thought that there has long been reported to be a road to nowhere. Should be no problem, then: just find the road to nowhere and follow it.

But where should I begin my search for the road to nowhere? There are a lot of roads to choose from. Why, there are thousands of roads right here in this city, but I’ve seen no directional instructions pointing the way to the road to nowhere, nor signs indicating that the road to nowhere somewhere intersects with or is accessible via the road which I am currently upon. Hmmm. So, what do I know about nowhere that might help me find the road thereto? I understand that there is a man who lives at the end of the road to nowhere, or at least somewhere along its length. Or perhaps not. It’s just that he’s referred to as being “a real nowhere man,” which certainly implies that he has some connection or relationship to the place known as “nowhere.” But perhaps this is just some sort of poetic reference to a state of mind or being and not a real person to which a road might lead.

I would despair were it not for the fact that many other roads apparently akin to the road to nowhere abound in our culture. Take the road to ruin, for instance. Now, if there is a road I most certainly want to avoid, that would be it, along with the roads to perdition and hell. I wonder if those roads intersect somewhere or are otherwise related. I’d hate to think that I could live my whole life avoiding one just to find myself suddenly on one of those others late in life. Makes a guy want to just stay home.

But there are other, happier roads out there, too, I’m told. A lot of folks spend most of their lives looking for the road to salvation, and more than a few claim to have found it. Others are apparently already on the roads to recovery, happiness, success, and fame and fortune. Ah, that road to riches! I’ve also heard of a few proto-roads: paths, really, such as the path to knowledge and the path to glory. There are apparently several of these paths to glory, and it is not at all clear which may be the shortest. I guess they’re in need of some infrastructural upgrades before they’ll qualify as real roads.

It has been pounded into me since I was a kid that all roads lead to Rome, so that might be a reasonable place to start looking. Or I could look for the ghost of Jack Kerouac, since it might still be tramping along on the road, and he was sly enough not to point out intersections with any of these other roads while on his travels. But I’ll absolutely keep an eye peeled for Willie Nelson, because he could very well be on the road again. Somewhere.

One thing I do know is that I am now and have for a long while been on the road of no return. At least, I’ve generally discovered that there’s no going back for me. Perhaps I’ve unwittingly been pounding my way down the road toward a brighter future. Sadly, I lost my sunglasses a ways back and my eyes are really starting to feel the strain.

Even while on this road, I’ve been mindful of avoiding points, since the point of no return is pretty much like a black hole or the Hotel California: once you’re on the road, getting there is easy. But once you reach that point, well, you might as well unpack and throw out those suitcases, because leaving is not something you’ll ever do again.

Copyright 2013 Lawrence W. Lee