I heard a bone snap
When I was only about 9
The laws of gravitation
Were in advance a while
But not long before they taught me a lesson
In tough skin jeans like a Japanese Hessian

I was 70 pounds
Learning to fly
I knew I couldn't do if I didn't try

We called it "the field"
Where we used to hang out
A field of alfalfa in the back of a house

With a slice of an old oak tree
And a twelve-foot plank
Put the board on top
We got a flying machine!

Oh my god! We can teeter on this!
Or make a lever that can shoot me
Into orbit and space!
I've seen the circus
I know how they do it

With bent knees
You got to jump
Like you would from a trampoline

Strange phenomenon
Strange phenomenon

We got up a ladder
And the heaviest kid (5)
He would climb up top (4)
And count down like a (3) rocket ship
To (2) fly me up
He'd get to (1) T-minus zero
(0) Before he jumped

And I was shot high in a vertical catapult
Straight up and down
I remember the view
From over top of the house

Gravity seems weak
Until you look down

I got in position
I had impeccable form
If the judges were present
They'd be holding up score cards
Of 9's and 10's
I must've lost a couple points
For the landing I did

I heard a loud snap
But it didn't hurt
I looked the neighborhood
It looked like earth
But everybody's acting weird
Are they on meds?
Eating peanut butter sandwich
In a hospital bed

I started noticing
Strange phenomenon
(I started noticing)
Strange phenomenon
Is this planet the same one that I've been on
Everybody's bizarre and irrational
Even nurses on the quiet seem a bit off

Strange phenomenon
Everybody's deranged and I wonder what
Happened the day that I fell from the sky
If nobody changed then it must've been mine


Lyrics submitted by plexus

Fulcrum and Lever song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThe second and third lines should read:

    The laws of gravitation
    were in abeyance awhile.

    "Abeyance" means "a state of suspension".
    Uraniumon September 02, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI bet when writing this, Todd was like, "well, what would a really really white kid rap about if he was forced to?"
    onethinwallawayon August 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is epic! amazing
    im so excited to get the album tommorow!! :)
    musicoverdoseon August 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyes, this song is epic. and amazing.
    it reminds me of a dream where you feel like youve been there before. my favorite on this album.
    plexuson August 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"If no body changed then it must've been mine"

    FINALLY

    Some one using "no body" in the correct tense.


    Get seduced, kids
    ...by grammar that is.
    (the above two lines look like a rhyme
    and oh my god - so is this)
    I may just be a poet
    but never you mind...this short bit is shit.
    even so that last line just went to show
    how that in this line the last word could be "piss"
    laurelinwyntreon August 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHaha, I like the idea of Todd thinking about what a really white kid would rap about. I got that feeling as well when I first heard the song.

    This song's about mankind's obsession with learning to fly, which is taken as far as flying without the use of machinery. I particularly enjoyed the juxtaposition of the making of the homemade flying machine with the rocket ship imagery and count down in the background. Great sense of irony. During the space race, the rocket ship was the form of transportation to end all - now America, and the rest of the world, could stick its nose in the one place it hadn't been yet. Now that achievement seems to be reduced to something as mediocre as a piece of wood balancing on a lever in a backyard. The narrator even goes so far as to mock the Space Race as nothing more than a "circus", which I thought was quite funny.

    I wonder what kinds of scores the USA and USSR would have gotten for the things they did back then.
    OKRadiohead97on August 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentincredible song, my fave off the album

    however, im pretty sure where this site says
    "I got in position
    I hadn't echoed the form"

    what he really says is

    "I got in position
    I had impeccable form"
    kennyron August 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI beleive that the theme of this song can be heard in the last three verses and everything before that is just a build up. I beleive it is more about the first time he had drugs (in the form of painkillers) and the feeling that brought him as a kid who could not understand it.

    Hence the Strange phenomenon.
    Jimps85on August 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOKRadiohead: How is the song about mankind's desire to fly without machinery when the kids build a primitive flying machine as you say?

    Also, I don't think this song is mocking the space race: when the narrator says "I've seen the circus / I know how they do it," he's referring to his act of jumping off the board "like you would from a trampoline," not to the space race.

    I like the idea that the strange phenomena of the last few stanzas are the result of the narrator's first encounter with drugs in the form of painkillers, but I think the most important result of this traumatic incident, the "change" of the final line, is the lesson learned alluded to in the first stanza. The lesson, on the surface, is simply that what goes up comes back down; but probably this lesson is emblematic of the progression from childhood to adolescence and the abandonment of the whimsical and romantic ideas of youth.
    tommythecat42on October 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI didn't mean for it to come across like I thought the song was about flying sans the use of machinery. I meant it more along the lines of the childish ambitions of wanting to fly, thus using a poorly made catapult to launch oneself into the air and continue to fly on one's own.

    It's not about the Space Race, I honestly don't know what I was thinking at the time, I apologize, although the mentioning of being launched "into orbit or space" still kind of vaguely upholds the idea...I may have just read too much into it.

    I do agree with the maturation the narrator goes through - I didn't even think of it that way!
    OKRadiohead97on October 14, 2008   Link

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