Friday, January 29, 2010


I first heard this song by Tom Waits on CBC radio while working in the shop. It really grabbed my interest. It evokes so many things; memories of obsessively nosey neighbours, in this case, paranoid nosey neighbours, creepy news stories, which are probably the things that make the nosey neighbours paranoid, small mindedness, small town fear of outsiders.
What really caught my attention as I was working away were the lines “He has a router and a table saw”. Now that really changed the picture for me. A devious psycho who is pounding nails into the hardwood floor would not be using a router and a table saw to build a dungeon for his torture victims. Maybe he is just setting up his woodworking shop so he can make some grandfather clocks and birdhouses.
When I got home I looked up this video on YouTube. It’s pretty creepy and fits with my first impression of the song, but here is another layer.
When the video gets to the lines “He has a router and a table saw” the image for the router looks like a plastic “T” joint with a few wires routed through it. This I find hilarious because it reveals that whoever is making the video, in spite of the context does not think of a router used in woodworking but the only kind they know, which is some kind of electronic networking device. This person definitely did not take woodworking in high school, but I bet Tom Waits has made some sawdust in his time, or at least , has seen it done.

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