1

I am trying to get the meaning of the song. As far as I can tell, the man is describing his tattoos, or, rather, recalls circumstances where he's got them. I think I understand most of the verses, like, "Other are from growing up" or "Sometimes I was so messed up and didn't have a clue" (makes perfect sense).

But the exception is the sentence below.

Some may be from showing up.

The meaning of this sentence is eluding me. Does it mean literally that all of sudden he just showed up in some place where tattoos are made, and, like "well, given I am already here, let's do one"? Or can be it a synonym for "showing off", which I would consider quite a reason?

I get that there can be no clear meaning in the logical sense, but just an emotion, a feeling, the way the poetry goes. Or no meaning at all, as with rock songs. But in case there is, I'd like to understand it.

Or, just how a native speaker would take this line, without much thinking?

Below is the lyrics, hope it doesn't violate any laws.

The pictures tell the story
This life has many shades
I'd wake up every morning and before I'd start each day
I'd take a drag from last night's cigarette
That smoldered in it's tray
Down a little something and then be on my way

I traveled far and wide
And laid this head in many ports
I was guided by a compass
I saw beauty to the north
I drew the tales of many lives
And wore the faces of my own
I had these memories all around me
So I wouldn't be alone

Some may be from showing up
Others are from growing up
Sometimes I was so messed up and didn't have a clue
I ain't winning no one over
I wear it just for you
I've got your name written here
In a rose tattoo
In a rose tattoo
In a rose tattoo
I've got your name written here
In a rose tattoo

This one's for the mighty sea
Mischief, gold and piracy
This ones for the man that raised me
Taught me sacrifice and bravery
This one's for our favorite game
Black and gold, we wave the flag
This one's for my family name
With pride I wear it to the grave

Some may be from showing up
Others are from growing up
Sometimes I was so messed up and didn't have a clue
I ain't winning no one over
I wear it just for you
I've got your name written here
In a rose tattoo
In a rose tattoo
In a rose tattoo
I've got your name written here
In a rose tattoo
In a rose tattoo
In a rose tattoo
I've got your name written here
In a rose tattoo

This one means the most to me
Stays here for eternity
A ship that always stays the course
An anchor for my every choice
A rose that shines down from above
I signed and sealed these words in blood
I heard them once, sung in a song
It played again and we sang along
You'll always be there with me
Even if you're gone
You'll always have my love
Our memory will live on
2
  • 1
    Cannot discount that showing up rhymes with growing up. Dec 25, 2022 at 15:58
  • 1
    @YosefBaskin - and throwing up, blowing up, going up, and sewing up. Who knows how that song might have ended up. In my youth people saw volumes of meaning in Beatles lyrics, only to find out as older adults that John Lennon, in a hurry to complete a song, saw this or that phrase on a billboard or in a news article. Two main purposes of song lyrics are to fit the tune and rhyme. Meaning comes further down the list. Dec 25, 2022 at 20:16

1 Answer 1

1

I believe that in this context, "showing up" is informal.

The definition of the informal version:

arrive or turn up for an appointment or gathering.

Here in that sentence, it would mean something to the extent of:

Out of nowhere without preliminary thoughts, show up in some place.

Like as you mentioned:

Does it mean literally that all of sudden he just showed up in some place where tattoos are made, and, like "well, given I am already here, let's do one"?

Your idea is correct. Especially with the following sentence being:

Sometimes I was so messed up and didn't have a clue

Which means that it could be not prethinked; therefore, he/she might have regretted the decision.


Obviously, it should be clarified more. Since it's in the lyrics of a song, it has to rhyme, that's why it might not make enough sense.

These lyrics aren't really the best source for proper english grammar learning.

4
  • 1
    Thank you for confirming my thought. So it seems that all three aren't different reasons as I thought before, but can be coupled together as sort of "blunder-ish" motives ("from growing up" is definitely from this category), to outweigh that single one, the rose tattoo. Dec 25, 2022 at 9:30
  • @Col.Shrapnel Yes, that's correct! Feel free to accept my answer if it helped you :) Dec 25, 2022 at 9:30
  • 2
    I will gladly to, but Stack Overflow taught me patience, as there could be other answers. So I usually wait for a day. Dec 25, 2022 at 9:42
  • @Col.Shrapnel Cool! No problem. Dec 25, 2022 at 9:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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