Interpretations:Snowball In Hell

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The perfect anti-work song. Considering Flans is a workholic this has always seemed odd, but remember that for Flans hell is not other people, merely working for other people. This theme has been returned to in minimum wage, whist Memo to Human Resources is the current employee hell song that Flans sings. But compare that song to this. Snowball has the melody that Memo lacks, and the wonderful sample that Bill Krauss provided Flans with. Officially my brother's favourite Giants song (and he is not a fan) this is one of the highlights of Lincoln. (mr Tuck)

He's alwasy been the odd-out. Basicly..

Not much to interpret really. It's about work. A constant theme of theirs, take "Minimum Wage" for example. Great music!

I believe this song is about a man who is stuck in a job he doesn't like, but he has to stay in it or face poverty for his family. This is represented in the lines "Avalanche or roadblock" which mean he has no good decision.

The singer is equating the white-collar worker to the blue-collar worker.
Avalanche or roadblock
I was a snowball in hell...
...A jailor trapped in his cell

The snow is obviously the posher, white-collar office worker. The "avalanche" that pulled him into this working "hell" is also a roadblock to a career or money. The clean "snow" of his social status has been abased to the foothills of the mountain (hell), as the holier-than-thou jailer is himself imprisoned.

Money I owe, money-iy-ay

This line harkens to "Minimum Wage," furthering the white-/blue-collar comparison through the vowel change. "Money I owe" is the officer worker's cry, and "money-iy-ay" is similar to the cowboy's "yipee-iy-ay" -- TheBlunderbuss 17:16, 14 Aug 2005 (EDT)

Tmbg has always been against office work and such, so mabie their saying that being in a office for them is like being a snowball in hell- out of place.

I basically agree with most interpretations of this song except I do not agree that flans is calling himself a snowball as a metaphor for his being white collar, rather I think it indicates his sence that he is screwed, after all, a snowball in hell has no chance. Also I think that this song also has an underlining theme of regret over arrogance, as if the singer is now feeling regretfull that he thought he was above this (Jailor in his cell line) It also expresses confusion over how he should interpret this situation (side effect or drug trip) where a side effect is an undesired result of taking a drug and a drug trip is a desired result, and with many drugs, this is a subjective thing, one persons horrible side effect is another persons glorious drug trip. --Sarcasmagasm 20:05, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Something struck me about the either/or choices in the song lyrics. "Avalanche or road block"/"side-effect or drug trip": each pairing consists of a planned, man-made option and a chaotic option beyond the control of the singer. The singer is realizing that no matter if it was something he created by design (road-block) or something that happened beyond his control (avalanche), he's still unable to get past this barrier in his life. And whether things are crazy because he wanted them that way (drug trip) or because of an unplanned consequence of his decisions (side effect), the life he's living still seems crazy, beyond his control, and upsetting. The singer doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell, and it doesn't matter if it's his doing or not.

To the Rapey Man Named Paul: "I get it Paul, you've got the needle out, and back on that old 'Time is money' kick, right?"

A more literal (albeit still metaphorical) interpretation of this full line could be that Paul sounds like an old record. After all, he does.

I don't know if either John ever worked in sales but the song seems to be particularly about sales. I saw this as a message, kind of as a warning. I tried out a sales position and found it to be as expected, despite assurances. But at least I had this as a theme song. To a salesperson, a potential client’s disappointment with a competitor is like blood in the water. It’s the perfect opportunity to step in and provide your solution. But some humans view that side of it like how some view doctors and lawyers as profiting off of conflict and disease. It’s a side of the reality that isn’t pleasant when framed sardonically (“If it wasn’t for disappointment I wouldn’t have any appointments”). One thing that struck me was the tape sample (salesman drinking coffee in the morning). When you’re working in sales, you don’t work in a vacuum at your company. You might be just the kind of genuine person that your clients want to interact with, but your boss is likely in sales and s/he often wants to see the hallmarks of classic salesmanship, s/he wants to see a gregarious person buttering up clients 24/7, striving for friendliness and an “in” and a personal connection that will make it uncomfortable for a client to say “no” or go elsewhere regardless of the facts. If you please such people over your personal integrity, you fail yourself. If you don’t please such a person, you fail them. It’s a classic Catch-22 (avalanche or roadblock), and it’s especially palatable for a salesperson, as the position is typically very tenuous without fast results. In that culture particularly, normal people often feel like a snowball in hell. And you choose to venture down this career path (jailor trapped in his cell). You get a break from this stress when you get to do more mindless drudgery like Xeroxing handouts (a “panacea” if you will). As a professional, you have to engage in social interactions that are more contrived and detached than normal. It’s not just like work in an office where you have to function and interact; there’s pressure to act like everything’s great and super positive 24/7! (“Have a nice day / you want it when?”)

Un-belonging. The odd duck out. The intricacies of being an outcast.[edit]

Moneys all broke?

Foods going.... hungry? So, no matter what... the road is blocked. Doesn't matter how. Could be construction. Could be a train, temporarily, could be a boulder... an avalanche....doesn't matter. Roads closed.

And I'm out of place. I do not belong. I can not go through the road. I was not built for it. I'm a car, and I need a team of sled dogs. Or a CAT to did the Trench out to resurface the road. I don't belong. The road is no longer serviceable. Not by me, in my Ford Escort. I need Balto.

I'm a snowball in hell.

Bullshit job[edit]

The singer's got a bullshit job: a job they consider to be useless but must pretend is not. From what I've heard, sales is often this sort of job, since your task is basically to trick people into buying stuff they don't need or want all day. The singer can't stand the toll this capitalist hell takes on their spirit.

The coffee scene is especially telling to me. Many people with bullshit jobs spend most of their time at "work" doing things which can't even be considered to be productive, for instance spending over half an hour sitting around drinking coffee. Their more "productive" coworker passive-aggressively tells them off, notably not for a failure to work, but a failure to spend their time doing their job.

Another thing for me is the constant confusion about the nature of reality. A bullshit job confuses and depresses the jobholder, because it seems like being paid to do nothing would be a pretty sweet deal but is in practice like a form of psychological torture, a relentless attack on the human desire to do creative and productive things in the world. The jobholder can't immediately understand the disconnect, whether or not this situation is something that is their fault or something that is out of people's control ("avalanche or roadblock?", "side-effect or drug trip?"). Either way, they're trapped.

(To be clear, this definitely wasn't the conscious original intent of the song, since the term "bullshit job" wasn't around in 1988, but things exist before the words for them do)