Sunday, January 28, 2007


If I Should Fall

Lloyd Edward Elwyn (Ed) Robertson
Jason Bott?
I was driving to my sister's house after work one night, no small feat as she lived just east of Kansas City, I lived just north of St. Paul and I got off of work at 10pm. The car was loaded up with caffinated beverages and a few CD's to listen to on the trip.

I was south of the I-35 exit for Forest City, an old residence (#20) and was listening to Barenaked Ladies' excellent live album Rock Spectacle when a song I had heard many times before came on.

It's funny how you can hear a song so many times and not listen to it. Confined to my car, hopped up on caffeine, I actually listened to the words Ed Robertson (who is a dead ringer for Jason Bott) wrote. The song was originally from their third release, Born on a Pirate Ship, not an entirely forgetable effort, but certainly not the equal of their first release, Gordon, which remains one of my favorite albums to this day.

Even on Pirate Ship, this song had completely stayed off of my radar until sometime around 3am on a lonely stretch of I-35 in Iowa:


I look straight in the window, try not to look below
Pretend I’m not up here, try counting sheep
But the sheep seem to shower off this office tower
It’s nine-point-eight straight down I can’t stop my knees
(NOTE - 9.8 m/s squared - terminal velocity)

I wish I could fly
From this building
From this wall
And if I should try
Would you catch me If I fall?

My hands clench the squeegee, my secular rosary
Hang on to your wallet, hang on to your rings
Can't look below me or something might throw me
Curse at the wind storms that October brings

I look [straight] in the boardroom; a modern pharoh’s tomb
I’d gladly swap places, if they care to dive
They're lined up at the window, peer down into limbo
They're frightened of jumping, in case they survive

I wish I could step from this scaffold
Onto soft green pastures, shopping
malls, or bed
Then with my family and my pastor and my
grandfather who's

I look straight in the mirror, watch it come clearer
I look like a painter, behind all the grease
But painting's creating, and I’m just erasing
A crystal-clear canvas is my masterpiece

I wish I could fly
From this building
From this wall
And if I should try
Would you catch me
If I fall
I wish I could fly
from this building
From this wall
and if I should try
Would you catch me if I fall?

[When I fall
When I fall
When I fall
When I fall
When I…..hmmm..mmmm.]

It was great food for thought in the middle of the night. It's great food for thought every time I hear it. On the surface it's just a song about a hi-rise window washer. Fear of heights? Probably, his thoughts seem to be on falling. Or are they on accidental falling? Is this a man pleased with his station in life?

I take differnt things from this song every time I hear it. My favorite lines have always been:

I look straight in the mirror, watch it come clearer
I look like a painter, behind all the grease

He's just a window washer, a job he isn't too proud of, too happy with, frankly scared of. I'm sure it's not how he imagined his life would turn out. He imagines himself as an artist, but the analogy doesn't hold up.

But painting's creating, and I’m just erasing

...Or does it?

A crystal-clear canvas is my masterpiece

A window washer isn't going to change the world. A master control operator won't either, most of us won't on a large scale. We've all got our masterpieces to create, though.

Steve Thorpe and I were talking about music once. I was amazed by another musician and remarked that I wasn't as good as him and that I felt bad about that.

"Do what you do." Was Steve's reply.

I realize that he wasn't just talking about music or songwriting, he was talking about life, his, mine, everybody's.

Do what you do.


I bake pies. I write. I'm a mom. I sing and do oddball performance art. Today I'm doing laundry. I post under different names on various websites and blogs. The thing they pay me to do is being a lab tech at a seed testing company. I'd really like to be a girlfriend again. I miss that.

If I Should Fall is a stand-out song. I noticed it immediately. Maybe it's just the difference between how men hear and how women hear. Our brains are wired differently, you know, and that explains just about everything. Except the growing popularity for the sport, curling.
I missed so much on Pirate Ship, probably because I was dissapointed that it wasn't Gordon. It could only be what it was, too, I suppose.

A song I really liked from that album was Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank, but I even missed a lot of what that song was about.

I completely missed that it was about a farmer stalking and killing a singer, probably Anne Murray if you catch some of the lyrics' clues. A funny yet disturbing song.

If you're still up for it, you can continue to be my fake girlfriend. I know I was a dick a week ago, and would understand if you can't do that anymore. I do have lots of fake gambling money to spend on you...

[additional fake girlfriend comment deleted]
Hey, the fake girlfriend thing keeps me in practice for when the real thing comes along. I expect you to be a dick, you're a guy. I'm going to go pick through the can of mixed nuts and see if there are any almonds left. I know you hate it when I do that, but I know you pick through for the cashews when I'm not looking. And stop teasing me with those deleted remarks.
Sorry, just a little game I used to play with my last fake girlfriend....

I should let that all go and concentrate all of my fake attention on you.
Damn straight, mister.

Esp if you ever expect to have another fake WwtK session with me.
There's fake WwtK in our relationship? I didn't realized that we'd progressed that far.

I'm sure I was really demanding and pressured you until you finally just gave in. I'm sure that in my more honest moments that I feel bad about that.....
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