"Randy Described Eternity" as written by and Doug Martsch....
Every thousand years
This metal sphere
Ten times the size of Jupiter
Floats just a few yards past the earth
You climb on your roof
And take a swipe at it
With a single feather
Hit it once every thousand years
'til you've worn it down
To the size of a pea
Yeah I'd say that's a long time
But it's only half a blink
In the place you're gonna be

Where you gonna be
Where will you spend eternity
I gotta be perfect from now on
I'm gonna be perfect starting now
Stop making that sound
Stop making that sound
I will say I forgot it
But it was only yesterday
And it's all you had to say

Lyrics submitted by prod, edited by brianANAST

Randy Described Eternity song meanings
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  • +19
    Song MeaningI stayed up late and did a lot of math, and this is what I came up with; it would take 386 trillion trillion years to wear down a metal sphere ( I used aluminum for the equation ) ten times the size of Jupiter, to the size of a pea, hitting it once every thousand years with a swipe of a single feather ( assuming the feather removes 10 micrograms of material with each swipe. For comparison, a fingerprint weighs 50 micrograms.) Here is the number in long format.
    386,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
    The known universe is only 14 billion years old. Randys number has 16 more zeros.
    And remember, this 386 trillion trillion years is only half a blink, in the place you're gonna be.
    goodoltupon September 23, 2009   Link
  • +8
    General CommentI saw Built to Spill at the Kantine in Cologne, Germany on July 4, 1999. Modest Mouse opened for them. I had the chance to talk to Doug M before the show and I asked him about the song. He said as a child he had been at a christian camp once and one of the lectures at the camp involved this guy (I guess he was Randy) describing eternity this way. True story.
    eap2nnon March 17, 2011   Link
  • +7
    General CommentAn amazing song and a great way to describe eternity, thanks Randy.
    Yrtlzmoon December 20, 2004   Link
  • +6
    General CommentFrom Antigravity Magazine


    AG: I read somewhere that you had a professor in college who described eternity as this process of whittling down a metal sphere ten times the size of Jupiter to the size of a pea with a single feather, and that you took his words verbatim and wrote “Randy Described Eternity” from Perfect From Now On.
    DM: Pretty close. I think it’s a standard metaphor that’s used by Christian religious people to describe eternity. It wasn’t exactly that. I had to change some things from how I remembered because of syllables and meter and stuff, but basically that’s the idea—something giant getting slapped with a feather [until it’s worn down to nothing], you know, just some ridiculous metaphor for how long eternity is.
    geoffingeorgiaon November 25, 2008   Link
  • +6
    General CommentAlthough eternity is described here, I always felt the song wanted to communicate an even deeper meaning---that nothing we ever do will be good enough, and that the futility of wanting or trying to be "perfect from now on" is as immeasurable as eternity.

    The music has a sad, longing feel to it, sort of a homage to the deep desire of some who desperately desire salvation and can never be assured of it.
    Mendalusa77on June 28, 2014   Link
  • +4
    General CommentWhat a great song. It reminded me of the analigy I heard from friend who's father was a minister. The emphasis on imaging heaven or hell for enternity. To me at the time it scared the shit out of me, I even vowed to "be perfect from now on" It's a great analigy, but was one used as one of the great scare tactics of christians. I think the song is a remembering of such an experiance with the desciptions of Jesus, god, etc.stripped, nothing but the thoughts and conclusions. A childhood memory. At least it is for me.
    jellywishon February 11, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Commenttotally a song about christiain scare tactics. I love the sarcasm "i'm going to be perfect from now on, perfect starting now....so great.
    R.O.U.S.on February 14, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"every thousand years / this metal sphere / ten times the size of Jupiter / floats just a few yards past the earth / you climb on your roof / and take a swipe at it / with a single feather / hit it once every thousand years / `til you've worn it down / to the size of a pea"

    That is perhaps the greatest verse ever.
    charrbinon April 09, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentanyway, i do so believe that this particular song is litterally about eternity. its about how through years and years everything changes yet some how remains the same. does that make sense? does to me.

    or rather thats what i like to think its about. other than that i'm thinking someone was blabing on and on and randy didnt want to hear it anymore. liek he was being nagged about something and it felt like they were going at him for eternity.. but it was only yesterday and thats all i have to say. (:
    katie be thy nameon December 27, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIn the book Stranger With My Face by Lois Duncan there is a passage which says "If there were a mile-high mountain of granite, and once every ten thousand years a bird flew past and brushed it with a feather, by the time that the mountain was worn away, a fraction of a second would have passed on the context of Eternity."
    kafreezeon June 20, 2014   Link

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