Interpretations:Stand On Your Own Head

From This Might Be A Wiki

This song is sung through the point of view of an animal, whoe skin is used to make rugs. He asks us humans, "Why dont you stand on your own head for a change? Why dont you make a rug of your own skin? My skin is mine, not yours to use to make crap like rugs."- Gerwin

I think this song is about self actualization. Your mind is very powerful; rigidity doesn't suit it. You can think creatively. Stand up firmly, confident in the working power of your mind. It's a moving part, not a static part. People aren't standing up, they're obsessed with making furniture (rigid mental constructs) to hold them up. Find yourself, rather than clinging to my ideas, relying on their strength, being in my skin. Clinging to a rigid carbon copy of an idea for meaning isn't as good as relying on the power of your own mind to think through life; it will bring stagnancy, pain, sickness, pathology, both personally and socially. Stand confident in your power to think, to adapt. Stand on your OWN head, not mine. - rmlrml

Like many of their songs, they take stock cliches and turn them on their (own) heads.

I believe this song is about language; how many people use cliches, idioms, etc. without really thinking about what they mean. I believe they mix up the sayings (You made my day / now you have to sleep in it) to point out how silly they really are. - unassuming

"I see smoke signals coming from them; they say, 'We are out of furniture.' "

Am I the only one who tends to make the assumption/inference that the furniture was, in fact, the very thing the people used to make the bonfire with which to signal that they were running out of it?

I came to the very same conclusion. It begs the question... why did they start the fire to begin with?
Usually American-Indians use smoke signals, so I think the Johns are trying to show contrast. One part of this sentence is old and part of history, and the other part is a new phrase: one that one would use in this age. This isn't supposed to be interpreted deeply, I think, it is just JL and JF having fun. This is to show contrast, a theme that recurs a lot in TMBG songs. --Tmbgguy 00:08, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

A list of protest songs from Wikipedia listed They Might Be Giants "Stand on your own head" as a protest song referring to governments and imperialism.. . If a TMBW editor did that, would they like to explain themselves? There are also plenty of other TMBG songs on interesting places. [1]

To me the narrator is just misinterpreting a bunch of commonly used phrases, "You made my day, now you have to sleep in it" is a mash-up of "Make my day" and "You've made your bed, now sleep in it"; "Gimme some skin to call my own" is "Gimme some skin" and "a place to call my own". Possibly the most obvious of explanations (seeing as how it seems to have already been discussed above).

I've always thought it's about the divorce of a pair of Hippies from the husband's perspective

Two things. Shocked that they only played this live in 2011! Secondly having loved this songs for 20+ years I've alway thought it was a bout a divorce by a pair of hippies. Sung from the husbands perspective he's trying to remain positive but can't stop the anger seeping out. He's been taken to the cleaners by his wife (leave me some skin to call my own!) and he wants to keep the kids (I will sue for custody!). I've never thought it was from an animal's or tree's perspective - this has really made me rethink my ideas! I think we can all agree it's a superb song. (Mr Tuck)

A Tree's protest![edit]

This song is from the perspective of a tree complaining about how people use them for everything and can't do anything for themselves, and that will ultimately lead to their ruin.

I like people, they're the ones who can't stand

  • This line refers to trees, who actually can stand on their own. Also a group of trees can be referred to as a stand.

I see smoke signals coming from them They say "We are out of furniture"

  • Here people are demanding more furniture made from wood, using wood of all things, to send the message.

Stand on your own head for a change

  • This is the main gripe. Wood is chopped up and turned into wooden floors, which people then stand on.

Give me some skin to call my own

  • Before wood is used by people it's bark is removed.

You made my day, now you have to sleep in it

  • Literally, you've killed me to make your bedframe/house/floors now sleep in it. Also, a reference to the perils of deforestation.

I love the world and if I have to sue for custody

  • It is in the tree's best interest to be pro-environment, because the tree is part of it. So are people. We just don't get it.