To be a simple man

 Lynyrd Skynyrd  understood what it was to be a simple man:
Mama told me when I was young
“Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say
And if you do this it’ll help you some sunny day”
“Oh, take your time, don’t live too fast
Troubles will come and they will pass
You’ll find a woman and you’ll find love
And don’t forget, son, there is someone up above”
“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”
“Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold
All that you need is in your soul
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied”
“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”
Oh yes, I will
“Boy, don’t you worry, you’ll find yourself
Follow your heart and nothing else
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied”
“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”
Baby, be a simple, really simple man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby, be a simple, kind of simple man
Songwriters: Gary Rossington / Ron Van Zant
Simple Man lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management
It is my belief that the aspiration to become a simple man is not a question of your male or female-ness, but rather, a desire to be as Kicking Bird put it: “a true human being”.
Kicking Bird: [in Lakota] I was just thinking that of all the trails in this life, there are some that matter most. It is the trail of a true human being. I think you are on this trail, and it is good to see.    (-Dances With Wolves)
A true human being. That’s what I think about when I hear this song. Not male, not female, not a specific color, origin, sexuality, class– let’s see- have I covered all the labels and “identifiers” that separate and keep us each in our place? I know I couldn’t possibly have, so let’s throw a “and yada yada yada” in for good measure and be done with it. All of us. Okay. Now jump out of your mentally restrictive skin suit and go back for a second serving of the above lyrics. Can you feel it? I sure do. If I take just a back-pocket portion of wisdom from this song, I get this: While life is a journey of love, beauty, and wonder, it will not be free from strife. But if you remember what’s important, who you are in your soul and be led in the direction of your true heart’s voice, you will be able to rise above the joyless distractions that the world may provoke you with and triumphantly find your way. Slow down and enjoy your journey, understanding that while you are already equipped with everything you need to make it on your own, you are never all alone.
The trail to being a true human being is neither a sprint nor a marathon. It is a lifelong quest to find our way. I believe that if we could each aspire to become the simple “man” we hold within us, we could aid one another greatly on our journey.

6 thoughts on “To be a simple man

  1. Great blog post. And somewhat surprisingly, I still remember the guitar chords 30+ years after I last played it. I’ll keep my guitar close for future posts as well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe Skinners was a performer with a persona or in other words a fake!
    Indeed the rock star lifestyle and the complications of groupies and money are far different than the ballad describes… or else they were just putting weak minded people on!

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    1. Thank you for your input. Quite honestly, I don’t believe there’s a performer (or a person, for that matter!) who doesn’t adopt some sort of persona (or many- if they’re like me :)) to maneuver their way through the Earth school, so I wouldn’t expect the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd to be any different. And as performers, isn’t that what the world believes they are paying to see? A performance? I don’t happen to have firsthand knowledge as to whether or not they were living the “rock star lifestyle” but as far as “just putting weak-minded people on”, if you mean the many people who make up their immense fan base, such as myself, I can assure you that it is not weak-minded in the slightest to believe the best about people by understanding that every human being is fighting their own battles- just as we are. In fact, it takes balls to allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to do so. But I digress… Songwise, the fact is- mama told him what she desired for him in his life. He lives with the wisdom of the words she shared, as though they were tattooed on his heart. He doesn’t try to convince us that he’s a simple man. He doesn’t try to convince us that he’s not. He’s just sharing the story. As with all art, what you will take from it is what your own story is trying to show you through the poetry of another. That is individual to you.

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      1. Again, if that is how you choose to view the world, then that is your choice. I don’t see it that way, so perhaps we can just agree to disagree and wish one another well. 🙂

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