Only God Knows Why

It’s been three years since my dad passed away and I can still recall feebly squeezing his feet through the thick quilt as he violently sobbed underneath his bed sheets like it was yesterday. I can still hear the shrill ring of my cell phone as my uncle called to inform me that my dad took his last breath and I can recall the way my body fell stiff at the unfortunate anticipation of this phone call.

I remember sitting in a midtown Manhattan Starbucks a few days after his death attempting to be honest with David, ashamedly admitting that all I wanted to do was walk out the door and step out into the heavy Park Avenue traffic without hesitation. This, of course, did not go over well with David and he couldn’t begin to understand nor even endeavor to try. In fact, if I recall correctly, this morbid admission caused a minor argument between us. The unexpected irony of it all is that I’ve walked in David’s shoes – the loosely laced up tennies of a naïve, idealistic, passionate human being.

My dad and I had one glaringly positive quality in common and that was our love, admiration and superior taste in music. When Kid Rocks’ “Only God Knows Why” was released in 1998, I was in the eighth grade gearing up for high school. During its rise in popularity in ’99, my dad ephemerally made it known that he was really feeling this song, that he could relate. Aside from the obvious lines “…I take too many pills / It helps to ease the pain / I made a couple dollar bills / But still I feel same…” I, like David, didn’t take the time to dig deeper though I did try. It was just something I couldn’t understand at the time no matter how much effort I put forth.

My dad’s addiction to downers had recently come to my knowledge, at the age of fifteen, and perhaps my genuine effort was hindered by my idealistic nature and supreme anger at his sole fault in ending my parents’ almost twenty-five year marriage. Either way, if I had known then what I know now, I would understand that my dad was utilizing the blessing of music as a profound means of communication where he verbally lacked.

It took me quite some time to recognize that my parents are also “only human.” There’s so much more to that Kid Rock song than poppin’ pills and making some money. It’s better late than never but I certainly wish my perfect stranger were around so that I could personally try even harder to decipher the unspoken words between each line.

“Only God Knows Why” Kid Rock

I’ve been sittin here
Tryin’ to find myself
I get behind myself
I need to rewind myself
Lookin’ for the payback
Listen for the playback
They say that every man bleeds just like me
And I feel like number one
Yet I’m last in line
I watch my youngest son
And it helps to pass the time
I take too many pills it helps to ease the pain
I made a couple dollar bills, but still I feel the same
Everybody knows my name
They say it way out loud
A lot of folks fuck with me
It’s hard to hang out in crowds
I guess that’s the price you pay
To be some big shot like I am
Outstretched hands and one night stands
Still I can’t find love

And when your walls come tumbling down
I will always be around

As it…hey

And when your walls come tumbling down
I will always be around

People don’t know about the things I say and do
They don’t understand about the shit that I’ve been through
It’s been so long since I’ve been home
I’ve been gone, I’ve been gone for way too long
Maybe I forgot all things I miss
Oh somehow I know there’s more to life than this
I said it too many times
And I still stand firm
You get what you put in
And people get what they deserve
Still I ain’t seen mine
No I ain’t seen mine
I’ve been giving just ain’t been gettin
I’ve been walking that there line
So I think I’ll keep a walking
With my head held high
I’ll keep moving on and only God knows why

Only God
Only God
Only God knows why, why, why, why
Only God…knows…why, why, why
Only God knows why
Take me to the river edge
Take me to the river, hey hey hey


Pops & I 2009
Pops & I 2009



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