The Ballad of Ivan Cliburn

Hey listen things’re a lot different than when I was a kid, oh yes sirree Bob, I mean the economy is just really I mean a lot different. I mean that’s why I keep change, I always have change, y’know the dollar goes up and down, change always stays the same. But uh, y’know, things are a lot different – People used to make no money! Y’know, I mean uh, I knew a guy, his name was Ivan Cliburn
And he worked at Harry’s Self-Service with a Smile –
(Y’know, Please Pay First, The Attendant Can’t Open The Safe, No Bathrooms, you know the place.)
And even though he kept his smile
He hated it
All the while…

‘Cause he --
Wanted to sail the sea, yes he did
Be like Captain Nemo, fight those giant squid
But he had to work ‘cause he needed the buck an hour

Well he had this lady and her name was Jane
She looked like she’d been hit in the face by a train, but
Brother did he love her, ‘cause she looked just like his

Well they were always at each other’s throats
‘Cause she wanted a ring, and he wanted a boat
And he said “Listen baby, if you let me have my wish
You know I’ll buy you the ring by sellin’ the fish”

So he got his boat and was fightin’ his squid, and
She got her ring from a pop-top lid, but
Brother they love each other ‘cause they look just like each other’s mother and brother

Well Ivan was lost at sea and left thirteen kids
And now they sit on Mama Jane’s knee and ask just what he did
Well she looks them in their eye and sheds a tear
And then she leans over and whispers in their ear
“Well he wanted to sail the sea, yes he did
Be like Captain Nemo, fight those giant squid
Well sure he’s dead, but he’s not makin’ no buck an hour”

Oh, yeah
Well he had to work, cause he needed the buck,
Well he run out of luck, but at least he’s not makin’ no
Buck an hour!

See that’s all it is, it’s just about advancement, y’know I mean ya gotta keep tryin’, y’know things change, y’know and ya gotta keep workin’ or ya know you’re stayin’ in the same place. Sure he’s dead, but he’s not makin’ – y’know, I mean he made maybe a buck and a quarter there at the end, y’know, so, I mean it’s advancement, that’s all I’m saying.

Album: If Pigs Had Wings

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