"Shoe Salesman" as written by and G. Buxton A. Cooper....
I know a shoe salesman
He's an acquaintance of mine
One day he showed me some
Marks on his arms in a line
I did not know what to say
"Do you think those freckles will stay?"

I need a popsicle
Do you want lemon or lime
I've got a special today
If you've got the time
Winking, she poked me in the side
"Well, we could go for a ride"

I did not know what to say
"Do you think those freckles will stay?"
Ha

Well, you think she will see, yeah
I don't think she will see

Hey, Yeah..


Lyrics submitted by MLR6101

"Shoe Salesman" as written by Neal Smith Michael Bruce

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Shoe Salesman song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +3
    My InterpretationI think that it's not about suicide. It's about heroin addiction. "One day he showed me some marks on his arms in a line" is about the heroin needle marks, not slash marks. That's why he asks, "Do you think those freckles will stay?" He's hiding the marks on his arm that are from the heroin needle from a loved one, "I don't think she will see".
    SMUSER17506205on April 07, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationAs I see it, a song about suicide.
    "One day he showed me some
    Marks on his arms in a line "
    A shoe salesman would have a boring life and maybe the song implies that he's tired of that and just wants to die.
    And I'm thinking that
    "Well, you think she will see, yeah
    I don't think she will see"
    means that maybe he found meaning in his life and he's embarassed that he tried to commit suicide.
    wweman150on January 25, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentheroin.
    pijuyoon June 29, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song writing here is a little understated. The first verse details the protagonist's encounter with a needle-using junkie, the titular shoe-salesman. By the second verse, the habit has become the protagonist's own. You can use your imagination to fill in the blank space. In short, the shoe salesman got him addicted.

    The popsicle which starts of the second verse is a sugary, cold, sweet treat. The flavours are both sour. This could be a throwaway line, but perhaps the image is loaded- cheapness, artificiality and craving could be some of the feelings it conjures up. The "special" is drugs. The winking girl suggesting a ride could be offering the protagonist sex, and he worries if she will notice the marks of his addiction, the "freckles", if he takes her up on the offer.

    At the end of the song, he seems to be ready to go ahead with the encounter because he doesn't think she will notice the needle marks. Things are left open, but one wonders if there is not a least a hint that the girl may become an addict too. The quoted, slightly ironic, perhaps accusing line, "Do you think these freckles will stay?", may now be hers.

    The quoted line could be answered in several ways: "Yes, they will stay. You will always be a junky now." Alternatively, "No, this habit is going to kill you, and when you are dead, they will rot away with the rest of your flesh." Perhaps there is also a hint that the freckles, along with the drug habit, are passing from person to person, parasitic and, in a sense, eternal.

    Denial pervades the song. If freckles are snailtracks, then shoe salesman might be code for a drug-dealer. Perhaps the popsicles are phallic symbols. With so much left for the reader to fill in, other readings are surely possible… If it were to be taken as a suicide song, the ride could be death (cf Zevon's "My Ride's Here"), the freckles could be knife cuts to the wrists, or perhaps stigmata(!?), and being left speechless could represent death too. Still, the drug habit in and of itself seems lethal enough. If there is any suicide in the song, one may feel it is in the protagonist's swift surrender to the opiate which will mark him, and take his mind and his health.
    Tokebion December 26, 2016   Link
  • -1
    My InterpretationAs I see it, a song about suicide.
    "One day he showed me some
    Marks on his arms in a line "
    A shoe salesman would have a boring life and maybe the song implies that he's tired of that and just wants to die.
    And I'm thinking that
    "Well, you think she will see, yeah
    I don't think she will see"
    means that maybe he found meaning in his life and he's embarassed that he tried to commit suicide.
    wweman150on January 25, 2009   Link

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