It’s hard to think important thoughts when there are so many trivial things to think about

August 4, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 11:19 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices,Rock 'n' Roll,The Thang

I’ve written quite a few songs in my day and I like some of my old lyrics are better than others. Before I left BYU I wrote the chorus of a song I intended to use with my BYU band Sam I Am. Here’s how the lyrics went:

It’s so hard (to) think important thoughts
When there’s so many trivial things to think about (and)
It’s so hard (to) think important thoughts
‘Cuz thinking them thoughts tends to lead to important things (and)
It’s so hard (to) do important things
‘Cuz doin’ important things means you’ve got to do something (and)
It’s so hard (to) do important things
‘Cuz doing important things requires important thoughts

Perhaps it sounds silly to you, but it sort of captures a lifelong dilemma for me. I want to think important thoughts and do important things here on earth – but it’s hard. It is hard work to think about important things and it is harder work to change (aka repent) as I inevitably find myself compelled to do after thinking important thoughts.

All of this is actually an explanation of why I have not put a lot of posts up lately. My last several posts required a lot of hard thinking about important things. And thinking important thoughts wears me out. I’m still recovering I guess. Perhaps you find yourself facing blog burnout from time to time too.

Anyway, I never finished the song for Sam I Am but we eventually managed to take my chorus and make a song out of it called Elephant Thoughts a few years later with Noisepie. Here is a live recording of it in ’97 at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. I never really loved what we did with the song, actually. It certainly is not my favorite Noisepie song or recording. We took a hodgepodge of three musical ideas and sort of squashed them together in a Paul McCartney and Wings sort of way. But the ska chorus came out ok and I kinda like semi-psychotic scatting I did at the end.

There may or may not be any important thoughts in this post… but if there is one I suspect it is that thinking about important things is hard work. But since we will be judged by our thoughts I suspect it is the kind of hard work we can’t afford to shirk.


  1. I love your song. It’s so human. I think some people can think important stuff every day, but I give myself some slack, especially now that I’m in my senile years, and do it about once a week or so.

    Comment by annegb — August 5, 2005 @ 8:13 am

  2. Haha! You guys must’ve been a lot of fun live.

    “Important” is relative.

    Comment by Susan M — August 5, 2005 @ 10:41 am

  3. Thanks for the kind words Anne and Susan. I don’t really love the song but I did always like these lyrics.

    “Important” is relative.

    Interesting point, Susan — and largely true. What is important to one person may be trivial and banal to another. I guess I am working under the assumption that for us there is an absolute measure of what is important. I am assuming that if God thinks something is important then it is important regardless of if we agree with him or not. So when I speak of important thoughts I am referring to thinking about things that God considers important.

    I suspect Anne’s point about thinking important thoughts only on occasion applies to us all to one degree or another. It seems to me that thinking important thoughts is very much like a strenuous physical workout. It is harder to pull off if we are not in shape for it yet, we can’t do it all the time — we require rest in between sessions, but the better shape we are in the more often and more strenuously we can pull it off. I suppose important thoughts are vigorous mental and spiritual workouts. No wonder they are hard.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 5, 2005 @ 11:47 am

  4. You were part of Sam I Am? I didn’t know that. Funny. I’ve seen you before.

    Comment by Clark — August 5, 2005 @ 12:54 pm

  5. Nice Clark! I didn’t know we were at BYU at the same time. Russell Fox and Steve Evans said they also saw our band Sam I Am back then. You must have missed my post where reminisced about the glory days with that band.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 6, 2005 @ 12:38 am

  6. Hey, and I know Russell Fox’s younger siblings (we grew up in the same ward)!! (Sorry, I just wanted to feel connected, but it is true!8)
    Your song makes me think of what I think of when the sacrament is being passed. Ever since getting that lesson a few times in Sunday school as a teenager I’ve tried hard to think about what I’m supposed to during that time but often fail.

    Comment by Bret — August 6, 2005 @ 1:15 pm

  7. I married late. So I was in the singles scene here in Provo a long time. I used to go to a lot of local concerts and the like. I’ll not embarrass myself by saying how long. (And I ended up marrying a great woman 10 years younger than me!)

    Comment by Clark — August 6, 2005 @ 11:31 pm

  8. This is how my mind works: I ran uptown this morning to rent some videos to watch while I did the ironing and picked up a magazine to read the truth about Jennifer and Brad and some chicken soup for the wedding dinner casserole.

    And I started thinking on the way home about this book I just read and how there wasn’t any information about the author and I wondered if I could look him up on the internet and I thought about his name and how it rhymed with my neighbor’s name. Then I thought of all the words that rhymed with that name–there have to be at least 40, maybe more. Then I noticed the song on the radio “Build me up Buttercup,” what a stupid song. And then I got home and came in and put the groceries away and thought I would share that, before I look up that author.

    And I wonder if I have always thought about stuff like that or it is just my encroaching senility because it seems like stupid things to think about.

    And that is my “deep thoughts.”

    Comment by annegb — August 8, 2005 @ 9:02 am

  9. Hah! That is classic Anne. You are making my old lyrics look very wise.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 8, 2005 @ 9:26 am