Personal Life Lyrics: Spoonman


I can personally relate to the lyrics of this song.

Feel the rhythm with your hands
(Steal the rhythm while you can)
Speak the rhythm on your own
(Speak the rhythm all alone) spoonman

It seems to be something that I can relate to with almost every aspect of my life, especially with my job as a substitute teacher. I see it all the time in the presence of children and teenagers: A tapping pencil on the desk, the tapping fingers on a cell phone taking pictures on Snapchat, hands on the table making beats to lyrical battles in a classroom that is without a teacher that has made the classroom ride the beat of their drum. Yet here I am, with them, riding their own beat without fault or filter. There is a feeling of empathy in their rhythmic entropy; the stressed and unstressed taps that are no longer hinged by an authority that seemingly knows them from track 1 to 180. You think that a track with a featured artist on the label (insert the substitute teacher i.e. me) that the track would follow suit in the absence of the primary artist (the primary teacher).

Damn, I was wrong on so many levels.

Spoonman, come together with your hands
Save me, I’m together with your plan
Save me, yeah
Save, oh 

I remember all of the days that I had to freestyle the track off the top of my head. Man, it was difficult to get these kids to follow it. They all enjoy the beat of their own drums. On days like these (there were so many of them), I had hoped that someone would save me. You learn in your own way that entropy has a way of teaching you what tune each student plays. I still recall it the previous lesson:

Stressed and unstressed.

You can discern groups of students this way.

The hard and the soft.

The brave (another word for foolish) and the reluctant (there are so few of these)

Nonetheless, I’ve learned that knowing is only half the battle. The goal is to get them together to the rhythm of your beat.

Well, all my friends are Indians
(All my friends are brown and red) spoonman
And all my friends are skeletons
(They beat the rhythm with their bones) spoonman
Oh, hmm

Two groups but so many sounds. If I’ve learned anything about this job, it’s that personalities come out as honestly as possible. My rhythm in the classroom; in a classroom with students that I don’t know, is as good as dead. “A resurrection, a rebirth is in order,” is something I would utter to myself (as a student looks and hears my uttering, asking if I’m okay. I’m Not Okay from My Chemical Romance plays in my head to the male student.*). 

*Some shade thrown involuntarily to the poor student.

Spoonman, come together with your hands
Save me, I’m together with your plan
Save me
Save me
Save me, yeah
With your…

With honesty comes an advantage to the rule of conformity that the primary teacher has set. I toy with the rhythms that each group creates. Each one is genuine, individually, but I know that together they can accomplish so much more. You learn that you save time and effort the more you can empathize with their experience with some of your own.

With your hands
With your hands
Come on, come on, come on, come on

And with these hands, I type my experience compared to the music and lyrics of Spoonman by Soundgarden. It is quite liberating to do so, as it uncovers insight and enlightenment from a track that can I can relate to as a musician. The power of my many talents come into fruition through my hands from my eclectic mind.

Mmm, come on while I get off
(Come on while I get off)

Spoonman, come together with your hands
Save me, I’m together with your plan
Save me
Save, yeah
Save me
With your, with your hands
Feel the rhythm with your hands
(Steal the rhythm while you can) spoonman

I’ve learned that having an eclectic mind with an array of unique talents, particularly in music and arts, can make an amazing difference in the classroom. One of the things that I particularly find comforting is to write out my experiences in relating to songs and the lyrics they hold. It is said that there is a song for everything. For this, in dedication to Chris Cornell, I can invoke some spark of lateral intuition to those that read and understand where I am coming from. As quoted by Cornell himself as for the meaning behind the song:

It’s more about the paradox of who [Artis] is and what people perceive him as. He’s a street musician, but when he’s playing on the street, he is given a value and judged completely wrong by someone else. They think he’s a street person, or he’s doing this because he can’t hold down a regular job. They put him a few pegs down on the social ladder because of how they perceive someone who dresses differently. The lyrics express the sentiment that I much more easily identify with someone like Artis than I would watch him play.

This quote goes both ways as I’ve learned from doing this job (substitute teaching). The paradox of how I perceived the kids and how they perceived me.

Experience is the greatest teacher.





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