Fighter at heart

December 13, 2012
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A sweet hymn, a melody to calm you down, describes the song “The Boxer” by Paul Simon. In moments of high stress, or anger, I hum it’s lyrics to calm myself down. I like this song because I’ve listened to Simon and Garfunkel since I was a young. Although, all of their songs have a catchy tune, this particular song stands out to me.
The song itself is not particularly uplifting, but the simple tune always calms me down. When I’m at work and dealing with an extremely rude customer I always find myself humming this song. The line, “still, a man hears what he want he wants to hear, and disregards the rest,” is what stands out to me in situations where a customer is being impolite and ignorant. Other times, when I am stressed out or just unbelievably angry, the last stanza of the song makes me feel calm when I sing it or hear it, “in the clearing stands a boxer/ and a fighter by his trade/ And he carries the reminders/ of every glove that laid him down/ and cut him till he cried out/ in his anger and his shame/ "I am leaving, I am leaving."/ But the fighter still remains.”
The lyrics are literally describing the singer’s struggles with poverty in New York. Starting with the first couple lines, “I am just a poor ending in the last stanza, “then I am laying out my winter clothes/ and wishing I was gone/ going boy/ though my story’s seldom told/I have squandered my resistance/ for a pocketful of mumbles,” and home/ where the New York City winters/ aren’t bleeding me/ leading me,/going home.” Although, I can’t relate to the song it, means something to me on different emotional level. We all have something that we have struggled with in life. For me this song exemplifies the endeavors we face, and how we are all boxers fighting.
The poverty threshold in the U.S is at an all time low as of the 2010’s, due to the plummeting economy. Although the unemployment rate has lowered from 9.6% to 8.9% for 2011, according to the Census Bureau, roughly 46.2 million people remain below the poverty line. That’s nearly 6% of the U.S and in grand scheme of things; this may not seem like a large number, but 46.2 million people struggling with income. How many of those are boxers, fighting their battle with life, and standing strong?

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