Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Distance

At some point in our lives we all set goals. And then after we set out after those goals, we wonder if we can achieve them.

I'm a fan of the band Cake. They've got a distinct style, and one that grows on me over time. They have a song call The Distance, and I find the lyrics beautifully capture the spirit of striving for a goal.

The song starts by describing a race.


Reluctantly crouched at the starting line,
engines pumping and thumping in time.
the green light flashes, the flags go up.
churning and burning, they yearn for the cup.
they deftly maneuver and muscle for rank,
fuel burning fast on an empty tank.
reckless and wild, they pour through the turns.
their prowess is potent and secretly stern.
as they speed through the finish, the flags go down.
the fans get up and they get out of town.

So the race is over. There is a winner, but we don't know who it is. In this song, that's not important. Turn back to the arena to see the real message.


the arena is empty except for one man,
still driving and striving as fast as he can.
the sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
and long ago somebody left with the cup.
but he's driving and striving and hugging the turns.
and thinking of someone for whom he still burns.

The race is over. The man has lost, and yet still he drives on. We come to the chorus.


he's going the distance.
he's going for speed.
she's all alone
all alone in her time of need.
because he's racing and pacing and plotting the course,
he's fighting and biting and riding on his horse,
he's going the distance.

Winning isn't the important thing. By the end of the song we don't even know if this man finishes the race. Again, that's not important. What is important is the first line and the last line. He's going the distance. Going the distance doesn't mean that he's reached the goal--only that he's still working at it.

I love the second verse. It speaks to the doubt we all experience.


no trophy, no flowers, no flashbulbs, no wine,
he's haunted by something he cannot define.
bowel-shaking earthquakes of doubt and remorse,
assail him, impale him with monster-truck force.
in his mind, he's still driving, still making the grade.
she's hoping in time that her memories will fade.
cause he's racing and pacing and plotting the course,
he's fighting and biting and riding on his horse.
the sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
and long ago somebody left with the cup.
but he's striving and driving and hugging the turns.
and thinking of someone for whom he still burns.

We all set goals. Then we strive for those goals. Some goals are realized. Others seem to always be just beyond our reach. So, do we stop reaching, or do we go the distance?

You can listen to the song here.

2 comments:

Shirley Bahlmann said...

Hey, I gave you the lovely blog award, because what's more lovely than armpitless chickens? Marsha has the rules on her blog... i only did five awards, even though I was supposed to do 15! That was just so overwhelming, and who could compare to you, anyway? Here are Marsha's rules: http://marshaward.blogspot.com/2011/11/15-lovely-blogs-because-i-received-blog.html
Have fun, if you want to do it!

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