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38 Years Old

This song is by The Tragically Hip and appears on the album Up to Here (1989) and on the compilation album Yer Favourites (2005).

Watch video at YouTube
Twelve men broke loose in seventy three
From Millhaven Maximum Security
Twelve pictures lined up across the front page
Seems the Mounties had a summertime war to wage

Well, the chief told the people they had nothing to fear
Said, "The last thing they want to do is hang around here"
They mostly came from towns with long French names
But one of the dozen was a hometown shame

Same pattern on the table, same clock on the wall
Been one seat empty eighteen years in all
Freezing slow time, away from the world
He's thirty eight years old, never kissed a girl
He's thirty eight years old, never kissed a girl

We were sitting round the table, heard the telephone ring
Father said he tell them if he saw anything
Heard the tap on my window in the middle of the night
Held back the curtain for my older brother Mike

See my sister got raped so a man got killed
Local boy went to prison, man's buried on the hill
Folks went back to normal when they closed the case
They still stare at their shoes when they pass our place

My mother cried, "The horror has finally ceased"
He whispered, "Yeah, for the time being at least"
And over her shoulder on the squad car megaphone
Said, "Let's go, Michael, son, we're taking you home"

Same pattern on the table, same clock on the wall
Been one seat empty eighteen years in all
Freezing slow time, away from the world
He's thirty eight years old, never kissed a girl
He's thirty eight years old, never kissed a girl
He's thirty eight years old, never kissed a girl

Credits

Written by:

Baker, Downie, Fay, Langlois, Sinclair

Notes

(1) http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/facilit/institutprofiles/millhaven_e.shtml

(2) If a song ever hit a little too close to home, it was this one. Gord Downie does have an older brother named Mike. He's a documentary film maker whose work has appeared on the Life Network and the CBC. Mike also directed the Hip's 1999 Bobcaygeon music video. He is certainly not in prison, nor has a tragedy such as the one described in the song ever befallen the Downie family. Some folks took the song seriously, however, and began leaving gifts and tributes on the porch of the family home in Kingston. After the Downies experienced much unwarranted and unwanted attention from literal believers of the lyrics, the song was dropped from the band's setlist.

On June 24, 2006, during a concert in Toronto at Historic Fort York, 38 Years Old was performed for the first time in over thirteen years. Gord introduced the song with, "This story's true... And it isn't."

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