An Explanation

This will be my first post and I guess I’ll get this whole blogospheric experience rolling with a bit of explication concerning its title. The phrase is taken from the song, “The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth,” by the band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. I haven’t listened to much of their stuff, but the song is one of my favorites, I guess because it resonates so strongly with my general philosophy about life and living it. Here’s the lyrics, and a link to hear it if you want.

“The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth”

Once – The dogs have quit their barking
“Son,” – my neighbor said to me.
“Know the emptiness of talking blue
the same old sheep.”
Run – I’ll do no more this walking
Haunted by a past I just can’t see

But let me tell you I have never planned
To let go of the hand that has been
Clinging by its thick country skin
To my yellow country teeth

Far – Far away from West Virginia
I – Will try on New York City
Explaining that the sky holds the
Wind the sun rushes in and a child
With a shotgun can shoot down
Honeybees that sting

Who – Will get me to a party?
Who – Do I have yet to meet?
You – You look a bit like coffee
And you taste a bit like me
How – Can I keep me from moving?
Now – I need a change of scenery
Just listen to me I won’t pretend to
Understand the movement of the wind
Or the waves out in the ocean or how
Like the hours I change softly slowly
Plainly blindly oh me oh my!


What is so problematic for us, at least in my opinion, is the temporal framework in which all the constellation of human activities takes place. It is quite easy to forget that the “future” is a hazily defined region in which the laws of time and space are peculiarly bent to ensure instantaneous arrival yet lethargic time-in-transit. We are perpetually engaged in planning and decision making within a confusing system of micro and macroscopic temporal progression. “Like the hours” and the words that follow, for me, capture in a very beautiful way how we change gradually, typically without notice, and then after the accumulation of these microscopic alterations we are capable of looking back across that stretch of time and reflecting.

But in the end who knows. I know nothing, countless people, dead and living, have devoted lives and careers to unraveling and wrestling with the beauty and struggle that is life. My contribution will be small, and probably very individualistic because if you keep reading this you’ll discover that I am an amalgamated blend of contradictory thoughts, behaviors, and experiences.


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