Got out of prison back in '86 and I found me a wife
Walked the clean and narrow
just tryin' to stay out and stay alive
Got a job at the rendering factory,it ain't gonna make me rich
In the darkness before dinner comes
Sometimes I can feel the it
I got a cold mind to go tripping across that thin line
I'm sick of doin straight time

My uncles at the evenin' table makes his living runnin' hot cars
Slips me a hundred dollar bill, says
"Charlie, you best remember who your friend are."
I got a cold mind to go tripping across that thin line
I ain't makin' straight time

Eight years in, it feels like you're gonna die
But you get used to anything
Sooner or later it becomes your life

Kitchen floor in the evening, tossin' my little babies high
Mary's smilin', but she watches me out of the corner of her eye
Seems you can't get any more than half free
I step out onto the front porch, and suck the cold air deep inside of me
Got a cold mind to go tripping cross that thin line
I'm sick of doin' straight time

In the basement, huntin' gun and a hacksaw
Sip a beer, and thirteen inches of barrel drop to the floor

Come home in the evening, can't get the smell from my hands
Lay my head down on the pillow
And, go driftin' off into foreign lands



Lyrics submitted by oofus

Straight Time song meanings
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    My OpinionSurprised no one mentioned that the idea for this song probably came from the movie Straight Time or the book, which was originally titled No Beast so Fierce, by Edward Bunker (Mr Blue in Reservoir Dogs).

    Personally, I don't think this is a guy who has crossed "that thin line" - yet! My impression is that he has taken his first steps toward doing just that, though - it's possible he got sober in prison, as they say 80-90% of people in jail are there because of drugs, be it selling, using, or doing things to be able to get the money to continue using... Which would make the seemingly throwaway "sip a beer..." part of that line very significant...

    But I think he's still trying to keep it together. The final verse begins with a double entendre ("can't get the smell from my hands" is, as others stated, his inability to escape the things he's done, especially in the eyes of others, but it is also a direct reference to his job at the rendering plant, which must be an awful place to work. Not to mention he's bored to tears, and the smell is representative of that boredom's inescapability. Laying his head down and "drifting off into foreign lands" is his only respite from his desperate, daily, workaday existence. I'm reminded of the line from John Cougar Mellencamp's 'Minutes To Memories' - "An honest man's pillow is his peace of mind".
    force263on April 12, 2014   Link

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