"The Obvious Child" as written by and Paul Simon....
Well I'm accustomed to a smooth ride
Or maybe I'm a dog who's lost its bite
I don't expect to be treated like a fool no more
I don't expect to sleep through the night
Some people say a lie's a lie's a lie
But I say why
Why deny the obvious child?
Why deny the obvious child?

And in remembering a road sign
I am remembering a girl when I was young
And we said these songs are true
These days are ours
These tears are free
And hey
The cross is in the ballpark
The cross is in the ballpark

We had a lot of fun
We had a lot of money
We had a little son and we thought we'd call him Sonny
Sonny gets married and moves away
Sonny has a baby and bills to pay
Sonny gets sunnier
Day by day by day by day

I've been waking up at sunrise
I've been following the light across my room
I watch the night receive the room of my day
Some people say the sky is just the sky
But I say
Why deny the obvious child?
Why deny the obvious child?

Sonny sits by the window and thinks to himself
How it's strange that some roots are like cages
Sonny's yearbook from high school
Is down on the shelf
And he idle thumbs through the pages
Some have died
Some have fled from themselves
Or struggled from here to get there
Sonny wanders beyond his interior walls
Runs his hands through his thinning brown hair
I'm accustomed to a smoother ride
Or maybe I'm a dog who's lost its bite
I don't expect to be treated like a fool no more
I don't expect to sleep the night
Some people say a lie is just a lie
But I say
The cross is in the ballpark
Why deny the obvious child?


Lyrics submitted by adupont, edited by nyetnyetnyet

"The Obvious Child" as written by Paul Simon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Obvious Child song meanings
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    General CommentI will throw my interpretation in the ring.

    It seems that "The Obvious Child" chronicles a man who wishes to ponder all the possibilities of the meaning of life. However, from a young age, Christianity is all his parents teach him, and in fact, they discourage exploration into other spiritual thoughts and beliefs. Hence the phrase "Why deny the obvious child?"

    The phase continues even into his later life as he finds all those beliefs his parents instilled still control his mental/spiritual exploration. In later life, the phrase "why deny the obvious child?" is more of a pondering as to why any person would deny themself that internal spiritual exploration, something so obviously basic (in the beginning of the song, the question seems to be posed more to the parents).

    In the very end of the song, there is the line "Sonny wanders beyond his interior walls, runs his hands through his thinning brown hair". These are my favorite lines (in part because I have thinning brown hair). It could be interpretted that Sonny is having a spiritual breakthrough and allowing himself to wander beyond his interior walls. However, I personally think it's more likely that the intent is just that he allows himself to wander for a little while, something which regularly happens, but he never truly escapes the nagging discomfort of fully open soul searching.

    The discussion of the parents, Sonny's child, the bills, etc, all could be viewed as distractors from the interpretation I have given. However, I feel these are powerful parts of the song which show that he is living the normal American life. The cross in the ballpark is a perfect example of what I mean. What could be more American? The reason the normal American life is important is that it seems to show that this is a completely internal struggle for Sonny. He doesn't even let anyone ever know he has this urge to explore.

    The dicussion of the parents at the beginning is sort of underplayed. This could be intentional so as to show that they are not ill-intentioned in spiritually raising there son. In fact, they are doing it the only way they know how. It could probably be guessed that Sonny has raised his child the same way.

    The cross in the ballpark has a myriad of possible meanings, and in fact, it's likely that even Paul Simon didn't fully know where he was going with that phrase. I have so many possible meanings in my head, and I don't really want to enumerate them. In fact, many of them are compatible, so I like to just believe they are all good. Once, I did read an interview where Paul Simon joked that saying "the cross is in the ballpark" twice in a row was too much.

    I would love to read any other interpretations or comments on mine. Half of me wishes I could sit down and pick Paul Simon's brain on this one. The other half of me is worried that the true meaning might mean significantly less to me that mine does.
    twollamaloveon August 23, 2006   Link

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