Finished with my woman / ’Cause she couldn’t help me with my mind / People think I’m insane / Because I am frowning all the time. As a pre-teen, the idea that a woman could actually help you with your mind was news to me. But that part about frowning all the time was key, as I felt myself to be a rather dour dude, where others were concerned anyway. I’m not saying I was proto-Goth or anything, but, like many kids that age, felt exiled to my own personal fantasia where the only saving grace would be: if the world would change, change utterly. Down with suburbia! Down with mediocrity in taste and entertainment! Down with the war in Vietnam! Down with mandatory church services! Etc.
Happiness I cannot feel / And love to me is so unreal. As the Geezer himself has said, what the song really describes is depression, not paranoia per se. I won’t say that I was ever actually depressed, in that sense, nor ever paranoid, but I do recognize the pithy virtues of those lines. It’s not that one doesn’t feel “loved” (whatever that means) as a kid, but one hasn’t yet understood what it means to be in an adult relationship. All of that eludes one, stuck in kidstuff and bored by what adults seem to find acceptable as pastimes.
The song plays, lyrically, as a cri de coeur of someone lost and hoping to find someone or something to give purpose to his life. But the song feels like an adrenalin rush, a fully empowered exultation in feeling cut-off from one’s fellows, of shunning the cheap emotions that pass for “happiness” among the dazed and confused. “Can you help me occupy my brain?” he asks, and that’s a key line. The idea that being “wasted” is actually the state of wasting one’s time by having nothing worthwhile to think about. That “mindless” occupations occupy one’s time but not one’s brain is the rub. That sort of thing certainly jells with middle school, and all too often the rest of life as well.
All day long I think of things / But nothing seems to satisfy could well be my motto