• The Hesh

Lyric of the Week: WASTED YEARS

Updated: Jun 23

Hide with no seek

Don’t know what to say

Too scared to speak

Feeling weak

Hiding from the day

‘Cause I know I’m up a creek

The truth hurts

And I can’t take the pain

Reminiscence of adolescence

Glory days gone down the drain

Wasted years

Crying over wasted years

Look at me

Finished high school with no diploma

College with no degree

In the army

Lungs filled with carcinoma

Fighting an unseen enemy

Loading up the cannons

Greasing up the tanks

Three whole years at the bottom of the ladder

Never getting any ranks

Wasted years

Dying slow through wasted years

Love and sex

Social life goes on

From one girlfriend to the next

Today here tomorrow gone

Living off allowance checks

My dad tells me Son

When’ll you do something with yourself

Do something with yourself!

Instead of wasting your years!

Dead ends

Without any viable means

To reach my ends

Weekends

Playing the same old scenes

Going out drinking with my friends

Thirty years old

Still living with my folks

Still hanging around the center of town

Cracking those same old jokes

Wasted years

Crying over wasted years

Wasted years

Dying slow through wasted years

© 2002 The Hesh Inc.

Where am I? And WTF am I doing here?

The lyrics tell the story, and the picture gives it away — I wrote this when I was in the army, probably during the first half of my service when I was a grunt in an artillery unit. Very often I'd ask myself, what the f&%$ am I doing here? All my friends back in the USA are going to college, playing in bands, and partying it up ... and here I am, doing what, exactly? (Yes, I was defending the country I was living in. I am fully cognizant of that. But sometimes — often — a conscript in his late teens doesn't see the forest for the trees.) Well, I made it out of there, and eventually made it back to the NJ/NY area, where I put together a band and screamed at the world about how lousy I had it during that era. The band was called FREEDOM IS PRICELESS — itself a slogan that I scrawled inside sentry posts from the Golan Heights to the Negev. We recorded the song as part of a three-song demo at Asbury Park's Wild Sound Studio in 1991, and it was one of the staples of our set list. (Come to think of it, most of FIP's songs dealt with my time in the army.)

Later on, I included it in my best-of-demo compilation, Everybody's in the Money.

Fast forward now to the mid- to late 2000s. Two marriages and two divorces behind me, attempting to navigate the dirty waters of the post-divorce dating scene. Two moves across the country and too many jobs—more often than not, for which I was overqualified and therefore underpaid. Missing my two daughters who were G-d only knew where on the planet. Bands and music going nowhere. Yeah, it was time to update the old lyrics for the new me.


Hide with no seek

Don’t know what to say

To scared to speak

Feeling weak

Hiding from the day

‘Cause I know I’m up a creek

The truth hurts, and I can’t take the pain

Thinking ‘bout how time slipped away from me

Glory daze gone down the drain

Wasted years

Crying over wasted years

Look at me

Finished high school with no diploma

Three colleges with no degree

Three years in the army

Like cold storage in a coma

Fighting an unseen enemy

Three kids from three marriages

Child support, divorce

Can’t get married, can’t stay married

Love fails, it’s just par for the course

Wasted years

Dying slow through wasted years

Love and sex

Social life goes on

From one girlfriend to the next

Today here tomorrow gone

Living off unemployment checks

And nothing ever gets done

What happened to all the dreams

And all the grandiose schemes

They all got wasted with the years!

Dead ends

Without any viable means

To reach my ends

Weekends

Playing the same old scenes

BSing with all my friends

Forty years old, for the first time on my own

Yeah, the freedom is priceless, if you can take being alone

Wasted years

Crying over wasted years

Wasted years

Dying slow through wasted years

Wasted years

Through the door go wasted years

Wasted years

No more, no wasted years!

©2017 The Hesh Inc.

What can I tell ya, it was a good vent. I even quoted my old slogan/band name in the third verse. I have no idea where this is going to go, if anywhere. It might be a good fit on the "Waitsian heartbreak opus" I had envisioned in the wake of my second divorce and my move from Los Angeles back to New Jersey. If I do, I will record it with the Hammond/Leslie going full blast, not the pale imitation provided by the Roland D-50 on the 1991 demo.

But it's a new year now. I am recording my music, and my New Year's resolution for this year is to play out more frequently and look ahead positively and optimistically. So a new version of this song, and the opus it could be part of, is not likely in the near future. I offer both versions of this lyric as a slice of history, and a prayer that I never find myself in this situation again.

#originallyrics #demo #cynicism #autobiography #time

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