“…with all the other pigs…”

Soundgarden Live at SXSW

I’ve been watching a beautifully filmed Soundgarden set from SXSW. “The Day I Tried To LIve,” was one of my favorite songs by this band who, along with R.E.M. and Faith No More, comprised the majority of my listening attention from high school through my college years. The lyrics couldn’t be a more accurate picture of the wake I left behind me and the skewed perspective I had at the time. It’s certainly interesting how 15-20 years of life experience and add perspective. There were times when I tried, mightily, to do the right thing, but, ended up recoiling violently due to many circumstances, but, most notably, my own self interest and the fact that I cut myself off from those who I needed most to hold on to. Stretching my own horizons – seeing how far I could push the night into the morning – seemed to be so much more important to me at the time. The consequences of that period left me broken and, eventually, aware of how helpless I was. There was no way that I was going to make it on my own. Indeed, “…I learned that I was a liar…”:

I woke the same as any other day
Except a voice was in my head
It said, “Seize the day, pull the trigger
Drop the blade and watch the rolling heads”
The day I tried to live
I stole a thousand beggar’s change and gave it to the rich
The day I tried to win
I dangled from the power lines and let the martyrs stretch
Singing, one more time around might do it
One more time around might make it
One more time around might do it
One more time around I might make it
The day I tried to live

Words you say never seem to live up to the ones inside your head
The lives we make never seem to ever get us anywhere but dead
The day I tried to live
I wallowed in the blood and mud with all the other pigs
Singing, one more time around might do it
One more time around might make it
One more time around might do it
One more time around I might make it
The day I tried to live, I tried

I woke the same as any other day you know why
I should have stayed in bed

The day I tried to win
I wallowed in the blood and mud with all the other pigs
And I learned that I was a liar (One more time around)
I learned that I was a liar (One more time around)
I learned that I was a liar (One more time around)
I learned that I was a liar (One more time around)
Singing, one more time around might do it
One more time around might make it
One more time around might do it
One more time around I might make it
The day I tried to live
Just like you, just like you
One more time around (One more time around)
One more time around (One more time around)

I thank God that, since then, I’ve found grace.

“The Day I Tried To Live”

“Authentic prayer calls us to rigorous honesty, to come out of hiding, to quit trying to seem impressive, to acknowledge our total dependence on God and the reality of our sinful situation.” ~Brennan Manning, Devotions For Ragamuffins, Pp.8

My life, so far, has unfolded neatly in chapters. Starting almost precisely from the day that I graduated from high school in June 1994 and lasting for about the next five years, I experienced a dark chapter. It was a time characterized by my parents’ divorce, loved ones being incarcerated, loved ones passing away, the loss of our home and all possessions in a house fire, loneliness, depression, broken relationships, the consistent flow of alcohol, discovery of a brain tumor, subsequent treatment, and surgery. All of these things, however, proved to be secondary as contributing factors to a darkness that originated primarily from the fact that my back was turned to His love. Like many, I suppose, my college years were a time to shun morality for the sake of experience. Enemies and mistakes were made, time and opportunities were squandered, and sins were committed at a furious rate.

My soundtrack during those years consisted of a consistent flow of Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, R.E.M., Faith No More, and Social Distortion. One Soundgarden song in particular stung my cold-encased and numb soul with piercing relevance at that time. It was just recently that I was playing some of my old dusty CD’s when “The Day I Tried To Live” (from Superunknown) and the circumstances of that time bubbled back to the surface of my memory. Juxtaposed against a retrospective view of the journey I’ve made since that time, the song lyrics still retain a ring of relevance, but, from a different perspective. Regardless, the truth is the same from any angle.

Soundgarden front-man and songwriter Chris Cornell’s lyrics intertwine good intentions with frustration and, perhaps unwittingly, the truth of God. He hit the nail on the head when he observed that life is a viscous cycle of meaninglessness and futility. Nobody is good. But, in recognizing how broken we are, the reality that we are liars and the fact that we have “wallowed in the mud with all the other pigs,” we have the opportunity to accept God’s grace and be freed from the “one more time around” mindset.


I woke the same as any other day
Except a voice was in my head
It said seize the day, pull the trigger
Drop the blade, and watch the rolling heads

The day I tried to live
I stole a thousand beggars change
And gave it to the rich

The day I tried to win
I dangled from the power lines
And let the martyrs stretch
Singing

One more time around might do it
One more time around might make it
One more time around might do it
One more time around
The day I tried to live

Words you say never seem
To live up to the ones inside your head
The lives we make never seem
To ever get us anywhere but dead

The day I tried to live
I wallowed in the blood and mud with
All the other pigs

I woke the same as any other day you know
I should have stayed in bed

The day I tried to win
I wallowed in the blood and mud with
All the other pigs

And I learned that I was a liar
Just like you

Music & Lyrics: Chris Cornell