I often take these night shift walks when the foreman's not around.
I turn my back on the cooling stacks and make for open ground.
Far out beyond the tank farm fence where the gas flare makes no sound,
I forget the stink and I always think back to that Eastern town.

I remember back six years ago, this Western life I chose.
And every day, the news would say some factory's going to close.
Well, I could have stayed to take the dole, but I'm not one of those.
I take nothing free, and that makes me, an idiot, I suppose.

So I bid farewell to the Eastern town I never more will see;
But work I must so I eat this dust and breathe refinery.
Oh I miss the green and the woods and streams and I don't like cowboy clothes;
But I like being free and that makes me an idiot, I suppose.

So come all you fine young fellows who've been beaten to the ground.
This western life's no paradise, but it's better than lying down.
Oh the streets aren't clean, and there's nothing green, and the hills are dirty brown,
But the government dole will rot your soul back there in your home town.

So bid farewell to the Eastern town you never more will see.
There's self-respect and a steady cheque in this refinery.
You will miss the green and the woods and streams and the dust will fill your nose.
But you'll be free, and just like me, an idiot, I suppose.

Lyrics submitted by lvr

The Idiot song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentSo many people are faced with this dilemma: having to leave their homes in Eastern Canada to live in a factory-town in Alberta. This song is as true today (maybe even more so) than it was when Stan wrote it.
    EastCoastGuy110on March 09, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentStan has many songs in this vein, questioning what it is to be free, especially in the face of financial adversity. Usually, however, he makes it clear cut which choice makes a man free. This song almost stuggles with the question. Is a man free in his beautiful home where he belongs living on the government dime or is he free when he adapts to survive and has to leave his beloved home to become self sufficient again. No easy answer, but the character in the song has chosen self sufficiency... and that makes him an idiot, I suppose.
    twollamaloveon May 09, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentBoth of thee above posters have very good insights on this magnificent song.

    Like the protagonist, I had to take off from my home to get a job tree planting in Northern BC because I couldn't find a job on Southern Vancouver Island during my first summer home from university. I ended up planting for another 3 summers because it was the best way to make money, but by my final year I felt like an idiot because the job and lifestyle sucked and I wanted to get away and be FREE.

    RIP Stan Rogers, gone but never forgotten
    River Wolfon September 30, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI can relate. My brother is out west working in the oil fields, and I'm in Alberta working on a Canadian Forces Base. I miss the Island all the time. Alberta is beautiful in a different way, but nothing beats being back home on the east coast.
    owaon July 26, 2011   Link

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