I am just a poor boy, though my story’s seldom told

Last night I was driving home from work, and “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel came on my iPod. I have mentioned my Simon and Garfunkel love before, and this song is one of my favorites of theirs.

I got into Simon and Garfunkel when my friend Kim made me a tape of the record she had containing their greatest hits. I listened to it over and over in my car, often with my brother in the passenger’s seat. My car didn’t have air conditioning, and we’d roll down the windows and turn the music loud and let it envelop us.

Last night I thought about those days, and I rolled down my window and listened to “The Boxer” over and over. It’s a song about loneliness and failure and despair. And those strings come in at the end, getting louder and louder, pushing you until you think your heart will break, but just when you can’t take it anymore, the song gets quiet and goes back to just guitar, feeling almost hopeful again.

I don’t even feel like I completely understand the lyrics to the song, or why it resonates so deeply with me. But I know it’s a song I never skip, partly because of those days when Joseph and I used to listen to that tape over and over and over, and partly because of the way it ends so quietly with the guitar, reminding me that everyone goes through periods when things look terrible and you think you’ve made all the wrong decisions and your heart is completely broken. It’s a song about being human. And I’m going to go listen to it again now.

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