"Ticket Taker" as written by and Benjamin Knox Miller Jeffrey Carl Prystowsky....
Tonight's the night when the waters rise
You're groping in the dark
The ticket takers count the men who can afford the arc
The ticket takers will not board
For the ticket takers are tied
For five and change an hour
They will count the passers by

They say the sky's the limit
But the sky's about to fall
Down come all them record books cradle and all
They say before he bit it
That the boxer felt no pain
But somewhere there's a gamblin' man
With a ticket in the rain

Mary Anne, I know I'm a long shot
But Mary Anne, what else have you got
I am a ticket taker, many tickets have I torn
And I will be your arc, we will float above the storm

Many years have passed in this river town
I've sailed through many traps
I keep a stock of weapons should society collapse
I keep a stock of amo
One of oil and one of gold
I keep a place for Mary Anne
Soon she will come home

Lyrics submitted by WinterLungs, edited by hemamorphy

"Ticket Taker" as written by Jeffrey Carl Prystowsky Benjamin Knox Miller

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Ticket Taker song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI'm so surprised no one's commented on this song. It's gorgeous. Such a sweet love song tinged around the edges with the prescience of apocalypse. Perhaps the ticket-taker is not the best choice for a society that feeds on itself, values the men who "can afford the arc," but he is certainly the best choice for when he is the only arc, above the chaos with his solid valuables. There is also something pitiable in the narrator's hanging around an "old river town" stockpiling weapons, presumably waiting for both a woman and the collapse.

    Another reading could be that the monotony of ticket-taking has wound up his psyche and made him into what Sherwood Anderson might call a grotesque-- someone fixated on only one aspect of their existence so as to ignore all other aspects and thereby turn in on themselves, exemplifying some spiritual malaise. I see this most prominent in that "Marianne" most likely snubbed him for a richer gentleman, and as a perfectly reasonable reaction, the ticket-taker has to make up for his lack of wealth in some other way. When she comes back to him after the sky caves in, he won't rub it in her face TOO much.

    It's one of the prettiest, most lyrically interesting songs I've heard in a long while.
    Imberon February 09, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentArc, or Ark?
    Goldengroveon April 30, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationGreat song. I kind of view the meaning of this song to be pretty straight forward.

    The first verse talks about the narrator/singer being a ticket taker for a boat (or Ark ?). He essentially admits that he can not afford a ticket himself for the ride but instead can just dream about it as he counts the passers by.

    The chorus makes me think that he once had a love interest (Mary Anne) who boarded the ship. He knows he doesn't have much of chance with her, but he has some hope that she will choose to stay with him rather than board the ark. Being a "gambling man" he decides to wait for her as she does leave. He also talks about how he is prepared to spend the rest of his life protecting and taking care of Mary Anne (has weapons, oil, gold), should she ever decide to return from her trip back to him.
    johnnyCATon March 03, 2015   Link

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