Don't Worry About the Government


I’ve been thinking about Sean’s list of 8 heartbreaking songs for a little while now. I’m not familiar with all of his choices, but I concur on several of them. Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt is great, and while I prefer the original Leonard Cohen version (or the U2 cover) of Hallelujah I agree that it’s a wonderful song. I was recently struck by I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie, which I found to be pretty heartbreaking.

When I was younger, I preferred music that was loud and fast, and preferably angry and offensive. As I’ve grown up, my musical tastes have matured a bit, and I find myself really enjoying a great variety of music. I’ve rarely had a “favorite song” above all others, instead preferring different songs and different artists at different stages of my life. For the last couple of years, though, I have had a favorite song: Don’t Worry About the Government by the Talking Heads.

The music is pleasant, and easy to listen to; but more than anything the lyrics almost always bring a smile to my face. There’s something enviable about the somewhat naive worldview that a building can make someone happy and content. I often think about this song when my own life gets hectic and I begin to feel frazzled. I think about the guy in this song, looking forward to working in his building, and taking a break when his loved ones come to visit him. He genuinely wishes that everyone could find contentment in the right building.

He’s okay, and doesn’t want you to worry about him. And when I listen to the song, I don’t worry about him. I envy him. His life is uncomplicated. He has loved ones, and looks forward to sharing with them the contentment he receives from his building.

It’s too easy in this day of modern conveniences to lose track of what’s really important. We find ourselves wanting new cars, or new clothes, or new gadgets. It’s important to reflect upon what we do have, and what happiness those things bring us.

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