Old Main

I wrote this song while I was in graduate school. Graduate school can be one of the most oppressive environments that you professionals are exposed to. Of course, business can be just as oppressive, but it somehow seems that academics (especially those in the social sciences) should know better than to subjugate their students. This song, however, isn’t really about graduate school or work, but about how we allow simple bureaucratic tasks and timelines get in the way of the important things in our lives.

My daughter particularly likes the fact that I worked the word “hegemony” into this song.

it wasn’t long ago that I came to this town
didn’t plan to marry, but you wore a wedding gown
commitment: not a ring around my finger, but a watch around my wrist
and now I’m searching for those things that I missed

learned how you disciplined my life with Foucault
but Michel my belle, you’re just a player in the show
theoretically you can critique the dominant hegemony
but until Old Main comes crashing down you won’t be free

twenty minutes now to fill the bubbles with your pencil, number two
fifteen minutes left for every essay and then maybe when you’re through
if you still have time an extra credit on the board to distract you
so you don’t hear the beating of your heart
it’s relentless

the eagle hangs suspended from the navy blue dusk sky
with angry eyes and an open beak I can almost hear him cry
two more minutes on my coffee break, I must return I can’t be late
for the poster tells me with teamwork comes pride

well this team’s a good twelve hours into the day
the president sleeps only four, but maybe they will stay…
through the night to get things right and then the boss won’t be uptight
I can see my wife and kids on Saturday night

call me this morning, we can make it a same-day delivery
thirty minutes hot and on my doorstep, if it’s not, well then it’s free
ten seconds left with no timeouts, the clock ticks down relentlessly
in time to the beating of my heart
it’s relentless

now that I’m hear I wonder which way I should go
you know I want to dance with you, but my rhythm is too slow
I can’t choose an off-beat cadence when invited too the big dance
for I end up treading on too many peoples toes

and at what cost am I joining in the dance
what part of my life am I trying to enhance
when I look into my daughters face there’s something dancing can’t replace
and between downbeats, I don’t ever get the chance

call me this morning…
twenty minutes now…
ten seconds left with no timeouts, the clock ticks down relentlessly
it’ll stop with the beating of my heart


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