I believe this song is written from the point of view of a paralyzed person. He does not appear to be broken on the outside -- he is completely coated in uninterrupted skin. But, when his brain orders his legs to move, nothing happens: I guess my man's fallen out with my head.
The following stanza likens the spinal cord to the transatlantic cable. Both serve the same purpose: communication.
May I direct your attention to the following simile? You're like the coasts of the ocean Buried beneath is a submarine cable Connecting the opposite shores that surround it
Later we learn of muscle atrophy (your fingers could encircle clear around the ankle). Then, the song makes it quite plain that the cable on the floor of his ocean (his spinal cord) is severed. He's been unable to move his legs for quite a long time.
Most interesting about this song is the separation between the narrarator's mind and body. He views his body as a broken thing separate from himself. His body is his possession, but even his brain is separate from his consciousness or being. He is coldly stating facts about his broken body as if he were detached from the situation. Yet the line there is no way to repair the break conveys such hopelessness and despair we know it's all just a brave front. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk • contribs) 22:10, 20 November 2003
An interesting related story from Oliver Sacks about a disembodied lady:  (from TMBG friend Robert Krulwich) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 18.104.22.168 (talk • contribs) 05:04, 20 August 2004
This song makes me squeamish (dan)
Cleverness alert: The song's "break" comes after the line "There is no way to repair the break", and consists of a broken sax solo. --Nehushtan 14:18, 22 Feb 2006 (CST)
This might also be just a case of sleep paralysis-the man just woke up. Sleep paralysis is when, for some reason, a person may not be able to move after waking up. This can last from a few seconds to somewhere around 45 minutes or more. This may be a prolonged case of that, and he feels like something may be permanently damaged. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk • contribs) 01:05, 28 April 2006
As everyone's said, I'm fairly certain it's about a man who became paralyzed due to spinal cord damage. I wish I had something witty or insightful to say now, but I don't. Sorry. ~Anna Ng hears your words.
It seems to be from the brain's point of view-acting like a coach, talking 'bout how their man won't be able to move as if they were a coach with a hurt player on the team, talking about how it's all going downhill. They said that the body, in this song, is viewed seperately, and it's not from the person's point of view it seems. Or maybe the person's talking to their body. Dunno which! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk • contribs) 06:49, 15 November 2006
A paralyzed person with spinal cord damage, but he'd wrought it upon himself by his own actions...which were stupid and dangerous. The trans-Atlantic cable might be a reference to how the first attempt at something like it failed, despite having brief, minor success, at first, but then later worked well. The speaker, in other words, felt that with whatever he was doing, he could "try, try again" if it didn't work out well the first time. However, his action not only failed, but permanently damaged him. 0dd1 04:44, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
Paralysis: Must It Be Injury?
Couldn't our disabled narrator have been crippled by illness? References to snapped cords, etc. could describe the state/condition of his damaged spine, not necessary mean there was quick catastrophic injury. There's a cornucopia of nasty neuro diseases that cause paralysis--for example, multiple sclerosis or transverse myelitis. Seems like the cause is just as likely to be illness as it is to be injury. CallMeMommyMarshmello (talk) 19:58, 24 April 2013 (EDT)