I'll see you at the Weighing-In,
When your life's sum-total's made.
And you set your wealth in Godly deeds
Against the sins you've laid.
And you place your final burden
On your hard-pressed next of kin:
Send the chamber-pot back down the line
To be filled up again.

And the hard-headed miracle worker
Who bathes his hands in blood,
Will welcome you to the final "nod"
And cover you with mud.
And he'll say, "You really should make the deal,"
As he offers round the hat.
"Well, you'd better lick two fingers clean
He'll thank you all for that."
As you slip on the greasy platform,
And you land upon your back,
You make a wish and you wipe your nose
Upon the railway track.
While the high-strung locomotive,
With furnace burning bright,
Lumbers on you wave goodbye
And the sparks fade into night.

And as you join the Good Ship Earth,
And you mingle with the dust,
You'd better leave your underpants
With someone you can trust.
And when the Old Man with the telescope
Cuts the final strand
You'd better lick two fingers clean,
Before you shake his hand.

Lyrics submitted by knate15

"Two Fingers" as written by Ian Anderson

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Two Fingers song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentFrom a Tull website:

    When you lick two fingers clean, you then rub them against your thumb to clean off the dirt. This gesture symbolizes "money" or "pay me", which is what organized religion is saying to the masses, else they wind up on your back run over by a train. In other words, pay the church, or have problems.
    dan0311on January 06, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is one of Ian's many critiques against the church, especially the Catholic Church.

    "Weighing-in": Refers to our death and judgment.

    "Place your final burden on your hard-pressed next of kin": The Catholic practice of buying absolvances to get the dead from Purgetory into Heaven.

    "Send the chamber pot back down the line to be filled up again": Tithing and offerings, though the collection plate being a chamber pot shows just how Ian feels about this practice. ;)

    "Hard-headed miracle worker": A priest.

    "'You really should make the deal'": Comparing a priest's/pastor's attempts to get a person to join a church to a business deal.

    "You'd better lick two fingers clean": As the earlier person said, this is making the "pay up" gesture.

    The next few lines refer to a person dying, using imagery from Locomotive Breath.

    "You'd better leave your underpants with someone you can trust": Once again referring to Absolvances. This time telling you to make sure someone who will pay for them knows just how many you need.

    "And when the Old Man with the telescope cuts the final strand you'd better lick two fingers clean,
    before you shake his hand.": "Old Man with the telescope" is God, and "cuts the final strand" is death. It says that you have to pay up before you can meet God.
    Krendall2006on October 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about a person's death. The weighing in is when he arrives in heaven. What does his life amount to? You better leave your underpants with someone you can trust refers to embarassing parts of your life. Meaning they had better be secured. When the old man cuts the strand, refers to Death ending your. When that happens you better lick your fingers before you shake his hand. I think this means that you had better remove the sins and dirty aspects of your life before you have to meet Death.
    Anomaly57on July 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm not buying any of the current explanations about licking two fingers clean. I'm still cogitating on that one.

    And I don't agree that this is so specific to the Catholic Church and their particular practices as one person claimed.

    But overall it is obviously about religion and death. I rather felt the "chamber pot" might be our earthly bodies, which return to dust and might be recycled to hold another soul later, if souls exist. I think "the hard-headed miracle worker who bathes his hands in blood" is obviously God, the guy who can foresee everything and has unlimited power to fix anything, yet lets little kids get shot in random drive-by shootings. He's just sticking stubbornly to a plan, I guess, right?

    The "old man with the telescope" is also God, once again watching and knowing everything but remaining distant and uninvolved.

    I think the "deal" in this song is not so much a matter of money, but of belief. Believe in God -- without the clear proof He could effortlessly provide -- and get your ticket to heaven. Some philosopher once pointed out that by believing in God, whether God exists or not, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. That assuming God does not actually hate gullible people, I guess.
    Fuzzbeanon July 05, 2018   Link

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