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Walking Along the Beach...

Words and Music: © 1988 by Tom Smith
This song began at a really great concert by Mary Ellen Wessels, Julia Ecklar, and Joey Shoji, which featured a five-pound bar of Hershey's Chocolate. Mary Ellen said something about Joey singing one of those beautiful walking-along-the-beach-while-you're-slitting-your-wrist songs, and I decided to write one. To this day, it unnerves me that this is a very popular sing-along.

I wander along, maybe stop to look at a shell,
Or a petroleum-covered seagull that's starting to smell,
A hypodermic needle, some kid chewed up by a shark,
It's amazing the things you can find in an Oceanside park.

Look at the beautiful parklands across the key
Get strip-mined down to make room for some new factory
Billowing clouds of purple and orange and gray,
A marble and Plexiglas monument to urban decay.

Singing...
A "walking along the beach while you're slitting your wrist" song,
A "wiggle your toes in the sand while you're shaking your fist" song,
A "Life, you're too hard on me, kindly cease and desist" song,
A song about gloom, despair, and pain for a bright, sunny day.

The waves bubble over the sandbar, disturbing the calm,
Nearly drowning some baby too stupid to stay with his mom,
The pelicans squabble and fight in the skies up above,
And the noises they make remind me of the woman I love.

She was everything I could desire, but she just up and left,
After embezzling ten million bucks and framing me with the theft,
Lost my job, lost my car, lost my house, got kicked out in the cold,
And I'd call a crisis line, but the last time they put me on hold.

Singing...
A "walking along the beach while you're slitting your wrist" song,
A "wiggle your toes in the sand while you're shaking your fist" song,
A "Life, you're too hard on me, kindly cease and desist" song,
A song about gloom, despair, and pain for a bright, sunny day.

So I've nothing to do but just wander the beaches all day,
I spent most of this morning just watching some six-year-old play,
He built a sand castle four feet high, quite a noble redoubt,
But he was playing inside at high tide, and he never came out.

Walking the beaches all day really isn't so bad,
I've gained insights on life and existence that I never had,
I'm just an old piece of driftwood, weathered and wild and free,
Carved into a state-motto ashtray to rot on some motel TV.

Singing...
A "walking along the beach while you're slitting your wrist" song,
A "wiggle your toes in the sand while you're shaking your fist" song,
A "Life, you're too hard on me, kindly cease and desist" song,
A song about gloom, despair, and pain for a bright, sunny day.

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