Sign up for newsletter
 

Silence is golden, but you look like an automobile

Country Musings by Robert Loy, January 1999

My all-time favorite line from a song has got to be this one from Doug Stone (And whatever happened to Doug Stone anyway? Last time I saw him he was playing a double bill with MC Hammer on the side of a milk carton): "Today in my rearview mirror I saw an old Malibu...Girl, I thought it was you."

I love this line because it's so clear what he means. Doug is obviously telling his sweetheart that she bears an amazing resemblance to a rusty 4-door sedan.

Unfortunately, not all songs are as easy to grasp. When I was a kid, "Holly, Jolly Christmas" bothered me specifically the line "Have a cup of cheer." What kind of host, I wondered, would serve his guests a piping hot mug of laundry detergent?

Since the mid-'60's I've been trying to figure out what the heck "Silence is golden, but my eyes still see" means. Those two clauses seem to have no logical connection to each other. I mean I don't care how good your eyesight is you can't see what color silence is, right? (Every time this tune comes on the radio I try to listen very carefully to the lyrics hoping a light bulb will go off, but I swear parts of that song are sung so high nobody can hear it except small neutered dogs and Gibb brothers.)

How about Trace Adkins' "Every Light in the House is on"? Not only is every light in his house blazing but several in the yard and it's still only "bright as the crack of the dawn." I don't know if Mr. Adkins has ever seen a dawn crack, but it's only slightly brighter than midnight; so dim you couldn't even see silence in it. He needs to get rid of those five-watt bulbs.

"Holes in the Floor of Heaven" is a heartwarming little ditty unless you take two seconds to think about what it means. Why would Heaven of all places have such shoddy workmanship? We've been led to believe it's a perfect paradise, by far the best place to spend eternity. And it turns out the floor's got more holes in it than Barney Fife's front porch! Why don't they fix those floors?They've got carpenters up there, right?