Connections

The song Levon, by Elton John (@eltonofficial) and Bernie Taupin (#bernietaupin), opens with the line:

Levon wears his war wound like a crown
He calls his child Jesus
'Cause he likes the name
And he sends him to the finest school in town

Then, there’s a line in Elton John’s and Bernie Taupin’s song Tiny Dancer:

Jesus freaks
Out in the street
Handing tickets out for God

Whenever I hear Tiny Dancer, I am convinced that the Jesus mentioned is Levon’s son. I’m curious to know if I’m the only one.

Everything I’ve ever learned about interpreting text tells me that these are two separate songs, even though they are written by the same people and appear on the same album. In Tiny Dancer, the “Jesus freaks” are freaks for Jesus (Christ). They’re big, big fans. But whenever I hear it, my brain says that it is Jesus (Levon’s child) freaking out on the street. I’m changing parts of speech and referents for no reason. I know that, but I can’t help it.

That’s one of the things (quirks? problems? oddities?) about being human, we find connections everywhere. That’s what our brains do. It’s how we make sense of the world. Those connections are the foundations of inductive reasoning, math, science, religion, mythology, superstitions, and conspiracy theories. It can be difficult distinguishing between actual connections and imaginary ones. We try our best, but all of us make mistakes along the way.

As mistakes go, imagining a fictional character’s son is a participant in a different song appears harmless. Still, I can’t help but wonder why my brain refuses to stop seeing what I know to be an imaginary connection. It doesn’t just happen with 1970s popular music, either. I believe in lots of imaginary connections. I think all of us do. I just don’t know why. Are there any epistemologists or psychologists out there that can help? At least there’s one good thing, Elton John and Bernie Taupin help keep me humble.

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