Interpretations:I Palindrome I

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The song title itself, and the references to Palindromes within the song, should give you a big hint as to how the song is structured. The ideas presented are supposed to be presented in such a way that they read the same backwards as they do forwards. Going off this idea, I came up with the theory (well, I don't know if it's been said before) that the son has killed his father and wishes to end his mothers life as well, or, ends his mothers life and wishes to kill his father (depending on perspective.) If you look at it backwards, the middle (the Zig zag medical charts) can apply to his father, if you look at it forwards they apply to his mother. -- Timus

I think this song criticizes the human greed for money and power:

Let's say this "mother" is in fact "mother" nature. Life is a gift but many people don't respect it. They kill animals and destroy the rainforest only for profit ("I'll get the money"), but our "mother" nature dies. you should not take more from nature than it can restore, but humans take a lot more and exploit it. Also, people want to gain control over natural powers, especially life and death ("now I'll help it decide") --> first it was a random zig zag, now i will control it! Maybe "The hands of my offspring making windmills" could mean that people (Offspring of nature) now build windmills to use the wind's power --> humans build items for themselves while animals live with the things that nature gives to them. A snake head that eats the head on the opposite side kills itself in a way, because the other head is a part of it's body, too. So, people destroy the world we live in, but they also kill themselves by doing so. So everyone who destroys nature for profit acts like someone who kills his mother to get the inheritage and like a snake that eats the head on the opposite side

I'm inclined to take this song literally. I believe that they are singing about a spider. Some spiders protect their young until they hatch at which point they get consumed by their offspring. The parent spider seeing as how this is nature has the same sentiments.

Lyrics like "and I am a snakehead eating the head on the opposite side" could describe a web. It's not really certain where the web ends and begins so it could be described as a snake that consumes itself.

"See that Bullet proof dress hanging from the clothesline" seems like it could describe a web which would be impossible to shoot with a gun. "See the hands of my offspring making windmills" describes spiders making webs.

But I guess you could get abstract and say that humans are going through the same life processes that spiders go through. We get nurtured up until a certain point at which point we figure out how to take care of ourselves. Then we leave the nest not really looking back at those who nurtured us(other than maybe a heart felt thanks...any more would go against nature.) and nurture offsprings of our own who continue this cycle.

---At the begining it's talking how his mother will die and he will get her fortune. I think that the "on the medical chart see the random zig zig" is the heart beat of his mother in the hospital (thus soon mother will die) and then it says "I'll help it decide" saying that I'll either let her live or kill her to get the money. Then at the very end of the song it talks about his children and I think that his children killed him to get his fortune (his mother's fortune) thus I Palindrome I, it just keeps on going.

I don't think that it's as clear-cut as it seems. I think the mother is rather iffy about the whole life gig anyway. I mean, she could protect herself by changing her will so it doesn't include her son, but she doesn't. I think she enjoys the challenge of competing against her son, but won't be upset when her son finally succeeds. -Bill

'"Something I never did quite get until maybe just now is the line "My sentiments exactly" from the mother in the first verse... could it be that she did the same thing to her mother/father when she was younger? In that case, "You son of a bitch" would certainly be a more accurate self-reference. '

I always thought "my sentiments exactly" was said by the mother meaning that the son WILL get the money... but not until she dies... in an "over my dead body" sense. Hence the "you son of a bitch" (you're not getting your money if I have anything to say about it) which is of course, in the context provided, hilarious.

Let us not forget the larger palindrome here, the mother brought the son into the world, now the son is taking the mother out of it

Quite simply, this song is about a viciously evil son whose mother lay on her deathbed, and he wants to speed up the process of her death so he can get his inheritance. Just as he's about to kill her, his dad comes in and stops him from doing so, presumably through force.

I completely agree with this last interpretation, except I don't believe that the Dad comes in and stops the son. The line "see the spring of the grandfather clock unwinding / See the hands of my offspring making windmills", at least to me, resembles that the son has grown up, collected his inheritance, and raised a family. The kids making windmills is a metaphor for time passing, and that everything comes back around. "Dad palendrome Dad, I palindrome I" is when the son realises this, and that his own kids want to do the same thing he wanted to do to his mother. Everything comes back around, and that's a palindrome in itself.

The "hands of my offspring" are simply the hour and minute hands on the face of the grandfather clock, powered by the unwinding spring. The "windmills" are the circles the hands repeat every hour (or twelve hours) across the clock's face. "Offspring" is a play on the mechanism and repeats the generational concept implied by a "grandfather" clock.

I agree with the two above except for the dad part, you could see it as rich families marrying each other and that the dad did the same as his son and kill his mother and father, thus the dad created a palindrome "dad palindrome dad" and the son creates a palindrome: "I palindrome I". I think that the father is already dead from his son and now the son just has to wait for his mother to die to get the fortune, the bullet proof dress could be that the son has shot his mother but there was a dress hanging from a clothesline in the way and when he shot her it didn't kill her, it just put her on her death bed (possibly in a vegetative state "now i'll help it decide") --Purds 23:35, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I in turn disagree with the two above (at the time of writing) - I don't think this is a story song. I don't think the narrator is killing anyone, I don't there is any particular linear action. The song's very conceptual. SOME DAY his mother will die and the narrator will get the money... she's his own flesh and blood but all he cares about is the money. One day his children will want him to die for the money. I suppose it's a callous interpretation of the whole "Circle Of Life" thing.

Incidentally, the supposed palindrome sung in the middle section is a reference to the famous palindrome, 'ABLE WERE I ERE I SAW ELBA'. ASL

The lyric "and I am a snake head eating the head on the opposite side" seems to be referring to the mythical snake creature - with the near palindromical name - Oroboros.

Yes, though it's also the Amphisbaena, which is the two-headed snake. Ouroboros doesn't have two heads. -Paul McCann

The mother saying "You son of a bitch" to the kid is a funny self-referencing thing, too.

I made a short Flash to illustrate the word palindrome, "Son I am able, she said..." Watch it three times and you will always remember the impossible lyrics and amaze your friends.


Something I never did quite get until maybe just now is the line "My sentiments exactly" from the mother in the first verse... could it be that she did the same thing to her mother/father when she was younger? In that case, "You son of a bitch" would certainly be a more accurate self-reference.

It could also be that the mother's mother (AKA the narrator's grandmother) is still alive, so the mother would like to get HER inheritance. *shrug* I dunno.

Calling her son a "son of a bitch" is an insult, but conceptually, something of a palindromic one: in doing so, she's calling herself a bitch.

I think this song goes beyond the fact that this situation is palindroming itself, I think that it's saying that life palindromes life. It starts out with his waiting for his parent to die, and ends with his children waiting for him to die, hence the line dad palindrome dad, as if to say that the parents palindrome, too.

It's like this: Verse 1: "Someday mother will die and I'll get the money..." he's a kid who doesn't take what he's talking about seriously and doesn't consider his own mortality.

Verse 2: "See that bulletproof dress hanging from the clothesline, See the medical chart with the random zigzag, Now I'll help to decide..." now that fateful time has finally come and he plays a part in ending her life.

Verse 3: "See the spring of the grandfather clock unwinding, see the medical chart with the random zigzag dad palindrome dad i palindrome i" Everything comes full circle, he too must go and his children take the perspective illustrated in the first verse. -Think about that

--- I think that what happens is the son thinks out loud, unintentionally portraying his true emotionsand intentions; ergo the first line of the first verse of the first stanza.

The "My sentiments exactly" thing is sarcasm. Think about it. You don't discuss such things while near a person on their deathbed. It is the same thing as if she would have replied something like "Aw, how considerate of you to discuss your celebration of my death WHILST I AM ON MY DEATHBED!!!" Then proceeds to chew the crap out of him. I also like to imagine her beating the son in the head with a cane during the "You son of a bitch" line. I know it doesn't say she does it in the song, it's just a good, funny mental image. ^_^ The bulletproof dress might be a metaphor discussing the realization of the mother's imminent death and her inability to do anything about it(A bulletproof dress cannot do you any good if you aren't wearing it). The medical chart with the random zigzags part is obvious. He helps it decide to go to the bottom of the chart by killing his mother. The word-for-word palindrome part("Son I am able...") is the mother trying in a last-ditch effort to stop the son from killing her.

As for the rest of the song, it all has so many shallow and deep meanings to debate and discuss, it isn't funny. I say pick a good interpretation from one of the other discussions and be happy.

"Someday mother will die and I'll get the money"-The narrator doesn't give a damn about his mother. He's just looking forward to the day she dies so that he can get his inheritance. "Mom leans down and says 'My sentiments exactly, you son of a bitch"-The mother feels the same way. She doesn't care about her son. She wouldn't mind if he died because she would collect the insurance.

"Someday Mother will die and I'll get the money"

Obviously the Narrator (i.e. the son) is looking forward to the day his Mother dies so he can collect his inheritance."

"Mom leans down and says 'My sentiments exactly, You son of a bitch'"

Mom is aware that the only thing her son cares about is his inheritance and is basically saying, "over my dead body, you son of a bitch." The "son of a bitch" portion is meant to be a situational palindrome, as many have suggested, but I think the importance of this exchange is that Mom is perfectly aware of her son's intentions and is basically setting the terms for him.

The lines about being able are most likely a reference to the phrase "Able was I ere I saw Elba", perhaps the most famous palindrome of all time. It is 'attributed' to Napoleon, even though he, not speaking any English, clearly didn't say it. Elba is the small island on which he lived while in exile.

Most of the interps here -- quite rightly, I believe -- see the narrator as a rather nasty fellow, but I think we shouldn't ignore that the mom seems like a pretty viscious woman herself. Of course, this is coming back around to her, as her son is just as bad, and is now trying to kill her. Tutt 15:08, 10 Oct 2005 (EDT)MasterChivo

It's worth noting that the nonsense word "manonam" is a palindromic way of writing "mano a mano" - two snake heads sharing the same "o" mouth. --M. Fudd 19:39, 9 Dec 2005 (EST)

Egad, a base tone denotes a bad age a very long palindrome - Paul Evins

Double meaning of inheritance[edit]

Without disagreeing with the other interps above, I think there is another layer (or context, or what-have-you) to the song, which is the science of DNA. The genetic code is a series of 'letters' (GATC) which are repeated in the double helix structure (discovered by James Watson and Francis Crick) of deoxyribonucleic acid. This is the source of genetic inheritance (which the song plays with by referring to 'inheritance' in the legal sense). The two strands of the DNA helix unwind (like the spring of the grandfather clock in the song) to produce two identical 'letter' sequences. Placed end-to-end, these strands would form a palindrome. To me, the song is about how we inherit destructive tendencies from our forebears and pass them on to our progeny. For a funny poem on the same topic, see Philip Larkin's "This Be The Verse". --Nehushtan 11:21, 6 Mar 2006 (CST)

This song is a rather obvious reference to Robert A. Heinlein's All You Zombies- a book about a government agency that travels back in time. you learn at the end that every single person in the book is the same person. The angency's symbol is a worm eating itself.

This song is about a man who kills his mother for an inheritance, but ends up getting killed himself by his child, hence the theme of the song being "what goes around comes around."

"One day mother will die and I'll get the money" This line is obvious everyone has gone to their parents as a child "If you die can I have this?"

"Mother leans down says my sentiments exactly"

His mother was exactly like him when he was young and was just waiting for her parents to die

"You son of a bitch"

His mother is saying that she is a bitch for what she wished on her mother and now it's all coming round a pallindrome.Then later in the song the son has grown up and his children say the same things to him. --- You people do realize that something that repeats itself is a cycle, not a palindrome, right?

Palindrome: A word, phrase, or otherwise that is read the same backwards as forwards Cycle: Some series of events that lead to events such that the events repeat themselves.


To the above: yes, but a valid comparison exists when you call a palindrome something that goes to its end, then comes back to what started it. So the son committing murder (assuming that that's what happened) is the forwards of the palindrome, and then the act of murder comes back to him as the backwards reading of the palindrome. Sui 02:30, 8 September 2006 (UTC)


What I always thought the "Bullet-proof dress" line meant was that he shot her, but she didn't die, and that is why she is on her deathbed. In order to get rid of the blood, he washed the dress she wore when she was shot, and it is hanging on the clothesline. However, since she isn't dead, he dubs it a bullet-proof dress, and says it as a curse.

But I'm normally wrong on these things. -Alchemy Prime

I'm inclined to read the "see the hands of my offspring making windmills" line as the method his offspring killed him; by stabbing him, perhaps in the heart. To do so, they would (or could) take the knife and bring it over their head and then down into his heart, essentially making a windmill motion.

And "egad a base note denotes a bad age," aside from being a palindrome itself could perhaps mean that the narrator has become too old to defend himself properly or in other words, a "bad age."

The "snake head eating the head on the opposite side" might be a reference to the caduceus, the symbol for medicine. With this interpretation, the repeated reference that he is the snake head becomes the more sinister. He could be musing over the power he has over life and death, or he could actually _be_ a doctor.

Some musical palindromes, too. During the bridge section, the pitches form a near palindrome to mirror the action of the words. Also, the dominant rhythm of the song is a repeating pattern of: quarter-quarter-eighth-eighth-quarter-quarter-eighth-eighth-quarter-quarter.... as in: Some - day - Moth - er - will - die - and - I'll - get - the .... This rhythmic palindrome is intensified by layering over a standard non-palindromic back-beat, just to make sure we get the joke.

"Mom leans down" has always given me pause. Leans down? Isn't she bedridden?

I've never understood why people think she is bedridden from the start of the song. I've always felt the song goes through several time periods-- A point where the mother is alive and well and "someday she'll die", a point where perhaps she got shot because of not wearing her bulletproof dress, though that is possibly only symbolic, this point possibly being where she actually dies, and the point where the narrator himself has children and is plotted against by them.

This song is, again, about me. Except my mother is not a whore. HTH, --HearingAid

"They might be giants" is a quote from Don Quixote in regard to windmills. If the offspring of someone who destroyed windmills rebuilt them, then there would indeed be a palindrome in time, either played forward or backward, the windmills exist, are destroyed, and are then rebuilt to exist again. With the band's own name as evidence, the only conclusion I can see is that the line "See the hands of my offspring building windmills" is another palindrome in the manner stated above.


Except it says *making* windmills, not building windmills. Making windmills is a fairly common way of saying "waving in a dramatic circular gesture like a windmill's vanes", kind of like the hands of a clock seem to do when "time flies".

That's not to say the Don Quixote interpretation is completely invalid.


TMBG name itself comes from the famous (second most read book in the world) novel "Don Quixote". Windmills are the imaginary giants Quixote attacks. I'm not certain how that figures into the larger picture of this song, but I believe a few people have hit in on the head with the literal interpretation.

A son is going to kill his mother, or is happily awaiting the death of her. Notice the phrase "bulletproof dress" and "medical chart", things related to a paranoid or sick mother.

There are many instances of "palindromes" such as the snake head eating itself (oroborous), dad, mom, "son of a bitch" (insulting herself when insulting son), the title itself, and probably others I'm missing.


Quite simply, the lyrics say that life starts and ends the same way. It also plays on the thought of karma; the boy is cruel to his mother, his children and grandchildren {"See the spring of the grandfather clock unwinding": He's growing weary of the cruelty) are cruel to him. --Lemita 01:32, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

The "snake head eating the head on the opposite side" is a reference to the symbol of the medical profession, the Caudeus, which is a staff with two intertwined snakes wrapped around it in opposite directions. Their heads face each other at the top of the staff.

The head-eating action is a reference to the mythical snake that eats its own tail, an action that continues circularly without end.

Both are very clever references to the palindromic theme that carries through the whole song.

Positive Reflection[edit]

I'll give this my best shot. Simply put- Son, represents love and induces self-reflection(Palindrome). Son is at the center of the Palindrome. 'I' represents greed/self service(easy to see why the letter I is chosen to do this.) The first line is a more detailed representation of greed, seemingly spoken by the son. But by accepting that the son is love(verified later), we can now understand the mother's(mother earth/global consciousness) reaction. Take note of the fact that mother 'says,'"(mothers quote)", while the first line does not quote anyone at all. The first line actually represents what mother/I sees in her own reflection- greed. The snake(common symbol for greed/evil) head eating itself represents self destruction. Therefore 'I(greed),' is stated to be a self destructive property. Also, the fact that 'I' recognizes itself as so, also serves to reinforce the son/palindrome/reflection principle. Next we have the bulletproof dress hanging from the clothesline. Very good imagery. The bulletproof dress represents an impenetrable skin or surface. Now, however, that surface is hanging from a clothesline - another way of saying it has hung itself - representing mother/I's new found ability to look inward and reflect. The medical charts random zig-zag, represents a teetering between greed/self service, and love/outward service, in mother's inward search. "Now I'll help it decide," says that she has found/is being helped to find her correct/desired path. Contextually it can be presumed that greed had been affecting her negatively, and she now understands the benefits of the positive path. The next verse now shows Son for what he is, self-reflection through the projection of love. The entire verse is a palindrome, with the word 'beloved' as a reflection point. Son/love/rejecting self service, scares her. "Watch me scare you though," I see this as a powerful line. It represents facing this fear, staring it in the face by reflection through love(remember beloved sits at the heart of this palindrome.) And through this type of reflection she can admit, "Able am I, son." This is a much softer and gentler way of stating a conclusion that she has come to, when compared to the statement "Son, I am able," which seems more as an attempt to convince, especially since it is then followed by a disclaimer. Now that she is on the positive path she sees things as they are. Grandfather clock(time)'s spring(DNA) is unwinding. DNA retains the property that as it unwinds, it mirrors itself. Another representation of the internal reflection process she has embarked on. The clock as time, seems to say that perhaps time itself has simply been serving as a means for her to choose/find her path. Now that she has, time is changing as well. "See the hands of my offspring making windmills." Windmills constantly cycle in one direction, therefore there is no longer an internal struggle between positive and negative forces. The windmills are constantly spinning in one direction creating positive energy. "Egad, a base/bass(play on words) tone denotes a bad age." Not so sure about the Egad part, but the base/bass tone, represents a base upon which to build. The mother(mother earth/global consciousness) created this base. Son, loving in nature, helped inspire the inward reflection needed to create a positive base, by contrasting the desired positive end with a negative/bad age. Dad Palindrome Dad now suggests that the new age will also be a time of reflection. Perhaps the Son is now the Father who must find his positive reflection point. Another interesting thing to think about is that my interpenetration is just one of many. The lyrics can very well be viewed in a much more negative way, describing a son destroying its creator, and in turn creating its destroyer. But by looking deeper, and finding a more positive source from which to project an interpretation, you create a mirror image that completely reverses the negative interpretation. I hope we can all learn to find the positive side of our personal palindromes.

I am surprised that I seem to be the only one who sees this, because it has always been the central point of the song to me: the narrator's children kill the narrator. This is slowly revealed through all the lines after "son I am able ..." The grandfather clock brings up the idea that this spans more than one generation, as a grandfather is at least three generations. Then his offspring make windmills: one stabbing motion is not a windmill, it is just a downswing, but with the second stabbing, you get an image of arms swinging round and round in circles, killing the parent with each revolution. Also, the lines "egad, a base tone denotes o bad age" is sort of a symbolic. The narrator, the base tone for future generations, begets equally bad offspring, the bad age. Finally, "I palindrome I" becomes "dad palindrome dad," that is "I" becomes "dad" so "I became a dad." Also, this doesn't support my theory but did you notice that both mom and dad are palindromes?

The line "dad palindrome dad" I think could only make sense if the patricide happens at least twice.

What goes around, comes around[edit]

Palindromes, as we all know, means the word is spelled the same both backwards and forwards. In the song, he wants to kill his mother so he can collect the inheritance."See that bulletproof dress hanging from the clothesline. See the medical chart with the random zig-zag. Now I'll help it decide" is clearly him assisting his mother's death because she is weak and in a hospital. "I am the snake head eating the head on the opposite side" refers to him consuming to his own demise, because "See the spring of the grandfather clock unwinding, see the hands of my offspring making windmills" means his children are doing the exact thing to him that he did to his mother. What goes around, comes around; what he did to his mother ended up happening happening to him.

I always thought the bulletproof dress was a symbol of the mother being on her guard, knowing that her son wanted to kill her. Its hanging from the clothesline, of course, indicates that he now has an opportunity.

I think the "snake head eating the head on the opposite side" is an illusion to the snake eating its own tail, with this difference: a snake eating its own tail isn't a palindrome because it has two distinct ends, but a snake with a head on each end is palindromic. Such a snake eating itself is a palindromic cycle - a cycle made up of palindromic units - and dark enough to fit the theme of the song perfectly.

I Palindrome I[edit]

I agree with the interpretor who says that the mother sounds like a pretty nasty customer herself! The very fact that she calls her own son "you son of a bitch" sounds as if she's acknowledging that she IS a bitch. I choose to interpret this as a woman telling her son that all he cares about is what he will get after she dies because she believes he no longer really cares about her. If she's been this bitchy all his life, by this point, it may actually be the truth--he's so tired of her that he feels his inheritance will be a reward for putting up with her all these years.

In fact, I've never really seen the narrator of the song as a bad person, based on the line that he compares the hands of his offspring making windmills to the unwinding of a grandfather clock. Little kids would make their hands into "windmills" when they were at play, as in turning cartwheels. The comparison coming at the end makes it seem as if the narrator is looking at his own children--or even his grandchildren, if it's a "grandfather clock"--at play and comparing it to his own mortality (the clock winding down). Perhaps he is wondering if he will be as much a burden to them when they grow up as his mother was to him when -he- grew up . . . or perhaps if he's even wondering if they will grow up to off him the way he may have offed his own mother. He is wondering if these innocent children at play will ever have enough hatred in their hearts to do what he did, and if he will ever deserve it as much as he felt his mother did.

I keep adding to this, but I also like the person who made the connection between the children's hands making windmills and Don Quixote. Don Quixote saw the windmills in the distances and assumed they might be giants (ooh, name-drop!), i.e. he saw something completely innocent and thought it might be a threat. This also ties in with looking at the children and wondering what their future relationship may be. Will he one day see these children as a threat?

Time reversal as a palindrome?[edit]

I think that if 'the grandfather clock starts unwinding', maybe time spontaneously reversed. That'd be quite the palindrome...

It could also be the mother's life flashing before her, backwards, just as her son tries to 'help her medical chart decide'. --Thaddius 17:58, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Mom leans down and says...[edit]

Anyone else noticed she leans down (like one might to a child)

Sounds like the narrator wasn't the nicest kid... ;)

Maybe he's his own father? Then the whole song would make a lot of sense. The whole idea reminds me of a Heinlein story.

Fun with Words[edit]

One thing that every TMBG fan must agree upon is that the Johns adore words. The comic vision of their lyrics (which include some harrowing characters and frightening stories) is something that has been consistent from the start. They realized early on that they could get a lot of mileage out of looking at words from a slightly askew angle, and they have plumbed this approach almost, at times, to redundancy.

Not so on this song. Linnell's first joke is the title - "I Palindrome I" is about as cheap a palindrome as one can imagine. Next, the mom inadvertantly calls herself a bitch in a very clever situational palindrome, as it were. The snake eating itself is an ancient mythological symbol describing the cyclical condition of nature, and Linnell is implying that nature follows the form of a palindrome. By following "I palindrome I" with the nonsense word "manonam" in the chorus, Linnell is signalling that we should not take this song too seriously or literally. The bridge, which like many people above have written, subtly refers to the "Able was I..." palindrome, is a small masterpiece of wordplay, but, again, one can't ask it to "mean" too much. The grandfather watch unwinding is a symbol for palidromic time, which, of course, does not exist - time only goes in one direction. Time is kind of an anti-palindrome. Since Mom (a palindrome) is all over the song, we knew that palidromic Dad had to make a visit, too.

Perhaps this song is some Oedipal saga, but I prefer to think of it more in line with Alice in her Wonderland. That story, too, has been asked to bear weighty interpretations. I think the Alice stories and "I Palindrome I" are better served if we read them/listen to it more for the utter joy that the authors obviously had in composing their games of words/ideas. 00:22, 18 May 2013 (EDT)

So palindromes[edit]

So, everybody is saying that after he has the dead mom money, his children is plotting to kill him

but what if

He's so selfish, to protect his money, he actually plots to kill his children?

That would be very palindromic.

This is just a determined effort to get the longest palindrome possible in to a song which is how all great lovers of palindromes should behave.

Killing his own mother[edit]

So this song is about the narrator killing his own mother. Uh, specifically for the inheritance money. Thus the first line, "someday mother will die and I'll get the money." In the second verse, he sees the medical chart with the random zig-zag, "now [he'll] help it decide..." That's it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mushroom Pie (talkcontribs) 22:39, November 22, 2014‎

The title[edit]

The word "I" in the title is a palindrome. Also the letter I is simmetricaly both orizontally and vertically.

The first part I understand this way: a son wishes out loud that his mother would die so he can get her money. The woman raising him lets him know she hopes the same thing, because another woman ("b****) is his mother. . . .

Aztec mythology[edit]

The line about snake heads reminds me of one part of Aztec mythology. In order to explain why, I'll need to explain the mythology to the best of my ability. (My knowledge is very limited, take this with a grain of salt)

The specific god it reminds me of it Coatlicue, the nature goddess of Aztec mythology. She had a daughter, Coyolxauhqui, and 400 sons, whose names I don't know and wouldn't list if I did. Then, she gave birth to 2 more children, Quetzlcoatl and Xolotl, and for some reason this angered her other kids enough for them to kill her via beheading. However, instead of dying, she grew 2 snake heads in place of her old human head, and also somehow had another son, Huitzilopochtli, god of the sun.

Huitzilopochtli beheaded his sister, but this doesn't kill her, either. Her head became the moon, and continued to fight him. The cycle of the day and night is an endless struggle between the sun and the moon, and if Huitzilopochtli ever tires out, the moon will kill him and then Coatlicue, ending the world. (This is also the reason for much of the blood sacrifice associated with the Aztecs: they were supposedly how one kept Huitzilopochtli alive and kicking)

Why did I just describe all this? Because it vaguely reminds me of the song of course! There's the broken family, the 2 snake heads, and, of course, the aspirations of matricide. This myth is also an explanation of the day and night and why it exists, which form a cycle. In this case, a cycle of violence, which seems to be the theme of the song. I just thought that was funny and interesting. Who knew you could put "They Might be Giants" and "blood sacrifice" in the same context?

I might also be very wrong about this myth. If I am, sorry about that. Just edit the page so it's correct I guess.

A Different Take on Son of a Bitch[edit]

I had always taken the line "Someday mother will die and I'll get the money / Mom leans down and says, "My sentiments exactly, you son of a bitch" to be a palindrome of payback. The son shockingly reveals he thinks about his mom dying and he inherits the money. The mom then shockingly reveals he's a "son of a bitch" - in other words, Mom is not his bio-mom. So, sure, she's all for him hoping for all that money he'll get when his bio-mom dies. From reading here, I can see I have a very unique take on this line, but to me, this interpretation is too funny to let go.

A Different Take?[edit]

I've always had a different perspective, but I couldn't reconcile it with much of the song. First, picture a son lying on his death bed, weakly saying (sarcastically) to his mother standing above him, "Someday mother will die and I'll get the money". Not sure if he tried to kill her and failed (bulletproof dress), or not. I say that part because of this: Mom leans down and says, "My sentiments exactly, you son of a bitch". "Mom leans down". She wouldn't lean down if she were the one dying, but rather she's standing over her son dying. The SOB part could refer to him trying to kill her or just her fussing at him being sarcastic in his last moments.

The caduceus is what's referred to "And I am a snake head eating the head on the opposite side". Maybe? It at least looks like it.

That's all I have. The rest is a mystery to me.

Son of a Bitch[edit]

A son of a bitch is a pup which is a palindrome! I don’t think there’s too much more meaning behind it. 15:40, 19 June 2022 (EDT)