Idea of You - meaning
By Jake Vigliotti
October 1, 2006
When Rush Limbaugh says something that he believes is basic knowledge, he will repeat what he said in a much more simpler form, “for those of you in Rio Linda”. For example, pointing out something is ¼ the size of an object, he may say, ‘that’s 25% for those of you in Rio Linda.’ I know, but for republicans, this is funnier than Carrot Top.
My Rio Linda is Alexandria, VA. No, it’s not the entire town, mind you, but sometimes when people get something so glaringly wrong, it just makes me want to jump in the pool at the Highland Park Pool and Tennis club and drown myself. Of course, that’s just hyperbole, but I couldn’t figure out a better way to slide in a sly reference that only a chosen few will get. OK, enough with the introduction, let’s get to Idea Of You.
Dave writes complex songs. I know, and the opening paragraphs above didn’t make a lick of sense (overstating the obvious). Since 2004, Dave has stepped out of his more familiar personal story songs and told more traditional storytelling songs. Hello Again is a perfect example of this. See, for those of you in Alexandria, VA, Dave didn’t literally sink, ‘his sweet girl in a watery grave.’
That alone should tip you off right away that not everything in DMB songs is as it appears. So, let’s get this out of the way: Idea Of You is not a Child Molester song.
”But what about…”, “and…”, “This line says…”
Give a listen to the lyrics objectively. I know they’re not set, but this is the basic idea of Idea Of You.
There are some constant themes in the song. Basically every version contains the following:
A. Old man references. Numerous times, in numerous versions, a reference to an old man (as the speaker) is made. How old is the ‘old man’? Is the old man 50? Carter’s around 50 and I wouldn’t call him old, lest get a stick thrown at me. “Old” is a relative term, Dave has used the phrase ‘old man’ to refer to God (see Raven), so in this case, old, means, well… old.
B. How old? Versions have the storyteller sitting on his porch, or on his front step. The only young people that sit on their front step (or porches) are kids that don’t smoke in the house. Old people just sit on porches or steps. It comes from the time before air conditioning. Lets give the storyteller a range of 60-70. You could go a bit lower if you’d like, but not by much.
C. How young? In some versions, the story mentions a doubling of age. That can put the girl in her 20’s or 30’s (at least). Even if you put the subject younger, this is not a 9 year old or a 6 year old. At worst, she’s 18-20, and I highly doubt she’s even that young.
D. Youthful references. There are a ton. Kicking of shins, pulling hair, playing games, etc. What’s up with that? Yes, there are youthful expressions, but they’re also something someone does when they’re young, and in love (or like) with someone. Little kids don’t know how to express their feelings, so when they like someone, they pick on them. I still have a scar on my arm from a girl who didn’t know how to express her feelings (her nails did a pretty good job of that). So why the expressions of such awkwardness around this girl he sees at a bus stop? Because the storyteller has never been in love!
We are left with a late 50’s-70’s person, a loaner, who witnesses a woman 20’s-40’s at a bus stop every day and dreams of falling in love with her. Since he’s never experienced that feeling, he reverts back to child-like games to entice her.
So why is he fighting the idea of her? Maybe he’s married and trapped in a loveless relationship? Maybe he is a she? Maybe he knows he’s too old for her? Maybe he’s a professional bell ringer and she’s a pretty French lady, and Dave’s watched too many Disney movies with his kids lately. Who knows, why, but we do know some things:
What it is, it ain’t. For those of you in Alexandria, that means this is not a child molester song.
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