In Ben Harper's song, "Diamonds on the Inside", there is a verse that goes

She made herself a bed of nails,
And shes plannin' on puttin' it to use.

I don't quite understand its meaning, especially in relation to the stanza/verse that precedes it:

When you have everything,
You have everything to lose.

I understand that there is an idiom/expression, be a bed of nails, that describes a situation that is difficult or unpleasant. There is also another idiom/expression, make your own bed, that describes causing one's own misery. Even Alice Cooper has written a song about a Bed of Nails, although this appears to be used in a slightly different context.

Could anybody please clarify the meaning of bed of nails in the above context, and why someone would plan on putting it to use?

closed as off topic by FumbleFingers, Kristina Lopez, coleopterist, MetaEd, user21497 Jan 31 '13 at 10:07

Questions on English Language & Usage Stack Exchange are expected to relate to English language and usage within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    I think this is Off Topic lyrics interpretation. – FumbleFingers Jan 30 '13 at 18:31
  • Off topic: lit crit, specifically lyrics analysis/interpretation. – MetaEd Jan 31 '13 at 5:58

The woman plans to make a figurative bed of nails to show how stoic and able to withstand pain she is. It is almost certainly unnecessary. Based on the previous stanza, she has a good or perfect life but can't believe it or be happy, so she's sabotaging it.

Fakirs and holy men sometimes use beds of nails. Sometimes they're fake. The 'nails' are actually rubber, but others are real.

  • Good point! I never thought of it that way. I want to see if other people of this community share the same opinion before accepting this as the correct answer. – Bill Oct 2 '11 at 2:51

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.