Welcome, strangers, to the show
I'm the one who should be lying low
Saw the knives out, turned my back
Heard the train coming, stayed out on the track
In the middle, in the middle, in the middle of a dream
I lost my shirt, I pawned my rings
I've done all the dumb things

Caught the fever, heard the tune
Thought I loved her, hung my heart on the moon
Started howling, made no sense
Thought my friends would rush to my defence
In the middle, in the middle, in the middle of a dream
I lost my shirt, I pawned my rings
I've done all the dumb things

And I get all your good advice
It doesn't stop me from going through these things twice
I see the knives out, I turn my back
I hear the train coming, I stay right on that track
In the middle, in the middle, in the middle of a dream
I lost my shirt, I pawned my rings
I've done all the dumb things
I melted wax to fix my wings
I've done all the dumb things
I threw my hat into the ring
I've done all the dumb things
I thought that I just had to sing
I've done all the dumb things

Lyrics submitted by jed

Dumb Things Lyrics as written by Paul Maurice Kelly

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Dumb Things song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentWell, it's pretty obvious what this song's about. This guy's dumb. Capital D-U-M-M, if you catch my drift.

    ...and it's my theme song =P
    raven_lunitekon June 24, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's written by an Aussie so, as an Aussie myself, I would interpret it as being about a guy getting 'pissed' and doing "All the Dumb Things".

    "Thought my friends would rush to my defence" ... but they didn't is also another typically Australian thing to do when you're on a bender. Get drunk, do something stupid while your mates egg you on, only to have them bail when you land in the shit.

    I love this song, it reminds me of a hot summer day at the beach
    stormgirlon August 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwow, im so suprised that paul kelly has so little comments! he's bloody awesome!!! one of australias best songwriters
    kaityjoon October 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLove the part where it goes
    " saw the knives out, turned my back
    heard the train coming, stayed out on the track"
    just makes me laugh
    riaon December 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti thougt it was about a dude who had dome some stupid things in his life.

    but the drunk thing (stormgirl) makes a lot of sense.
    fiascodagamaon December 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah i believe this song is about doing crazy stupid things without any conscious thought, or caring about consequences. Like being drunk for instance, you're like "in the middle of a dream".

    The "i see knives out" part, i think represents danger and risks this person is trying to avoid, until he hears a 'train coming', which is bigger and hits harder than a knife and because this person is an idiot he stays on the track and falls into danger.

    The second verse kinda represents how people are usually like in a drunk-state. They 'get caught in the fever' and think that they are in love with people. Then the verse continues with 'started howling, made no sense' like they are on top of the world without a single worry on them, just a bunch of kids having fun. And the 'i thought my friends would rush to my defence' is pretty self explanitory, when all your friends are as drunk as you are...there is really nobody else out there to help you. =O
    xiiyotaon February 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWe studied Paul Kelly's lyrics in English this year, was very interesting!
    To me, Dumb Things seems to be about making mistakes, and keep on making them, even though you know its a mistake.

    'Saw the knives out, turned my back'- He knew he was making a mistake, yet ignored it.

    'I get all your good advice
    It doesn't stop me from going through these things twice'- again, knew a mistake was being made.
    Besides Hanson, one of the best songwritters around!!
    penny...on October 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI studied Paul Kelly's lyrics in English this year as well, and this song has always been my favorite since it was on 'Young Einstein' - 1988 movie by Yahoo Serious.
    This is actually a very deep song about stereotypical frailties of men.
    He basically starts off drunk, and is putting on a show making a fool of himself doing 'dumb things' and he 'should be lying low' for other dumb things he's done have consequences and they may come for him.
    He 'see's the knives out (danger) and turns his back on it, then the knives are replaced by a bigger danger, now a train's coming and he still stays on the same track of doing the same dumb things.
    In the middle of a dream represents his farfetched sense of reality at the time, its all a dream and he's gonna wake up without and consequences because he's wasted (drunk).
    'i lost my shirt' represents to me that he lost his personal presentation and therefore lost his job because he lost his shirt he would've worn. I pawned my rings is the price he pays for his lifestyle, very simply.

    The next verse is about him getting caught up into this alcoholism/gambling and thinking he was in love then when it doesnt work he 'hangs his heart on the moon' where its unreachable by others and like a lonley dog he 'starts howling' because nothing made and sense and his friends didnt support him, as they were probably all drunk too and knew he did the dumb things.

    He now gets some good advice and it makes no difference and he stays out on the same track.
    He them melts wax to fix his wings which i think is referring to the story of the man who wanted to fly, he used wax to hold his wings together so he could fly to the sun and they melted when he got too close and fell to his death. He follows the same pattern then when its all lost he 'throws his hat into the ring' to make money from fights.

    This song is another instance of Kelly's sympathy for the ordinary person who gambles to improve his situation.
    The Hoskon October 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song always reminds me of my girlfriend she was the only decision i made that wasn't dumb I remember singing it to her on the way home from the pub one night and that was 3 years ago but now my life has been this song always loved it but never thouhgt I would be standing in those shoes,paul kelly rules go the aussies
    sknot5000on January 24, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song tells the story about the way in which a man lives his life care-free without thinking of the consequences. By the end it shows the way he regrets his actions and wished he lived his life differently and considered the consequences before his actions. The song is written in the perspective of the man who seems to have little friends, if any. The lyrics of the song tell us that he doesn’t take any advice or doesn’t listen to people trying to help him. The lines of the song that were memorable for me were: “I lost my shirt, I pawned my rings. Iv done all the dumb things”. It really sums up the way in which he didn’t care for his life. That the man lived recklessly with no regard for the future. It gives the listener the image of the man standing there topless wishing he hadn’t made the decisions he had. The lyrics that also tells the story is “Saw the knives out, turned my back. Heard the train coming, stayed out on the track”. It shows us the way the man never took life seriously at the time and which he later regrets.
    The lyrics “I melted wax to fix my wings” relate to the Greek mythological character Icarus, who is commonly known for his attempt to escape Crete by flight. Icarus’ father made him and his son a pair of wings out of wax which were covered in feathers to fly out of the island they were imprisoned on. Before leaving the island, Icarus’ father warned him not to fly too close to the sun or too close to the ocean. Overcome by the overexcitement that flying lent him, Icarus soared through the sky curiously, but in the process he came too close to the sun, which melted the wax. Icarus kept flapping his wings but soon realized that he had no feathers left and that he was only flapping his bare arms. And so, Icarus fell into the ocean where he drowned. Paul Kelly does this to compare his character to Icarus, showing the way they both live with reckless abandon. This shows how being reckless and care free can even end up in serious injury or even death in some cases.
    The theme of the song is that one day you will look back on all the things you have done during your lifetime and wished that you had done them differently. The key message of the song would be to think about the consequence of the actions you make before you make them. That you shouldn’t live your life as it comes because in the end you will end up regretting it and wished that you never lived that way.

    bosh4on March 19, 2009   Link

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