This morning, I had wanted to bring you the Paul Simon song “Allergies.” But I can’t find a live version of it. So what the hell? Let’s do “Still Crazy After All These Years.” I love the song and I thought I would tell you what it means. Because it doesn’t mean anything at all. It was released in 1976 — when Simon was 35 years old. It is a reflection on what it means to mature. Our fundamental engagement with life doesn’t change — we are indeed, still crazy after all these years. But the way we perceive that engagement is different. It isn’t as intense.
As with most songs, the real meaning comes out in the bridge. In it, Simon comes right out and says it, “I never worry; why should I? It’s all gonna fade.” But the great thing about aging is that it tends to universalize you. When you are young, you fear that everyone has it together and you alone are the seething bundle of anxieties. But when you are old, you realize that everyone is like you: a complete basket case.
Of course, in America anyway, you would be convicted by a jury of your peers. That’s because we hold others to a higher standard than we hold ourselves. It’s because we secretly hate ourselves. Because in America, growing up is something only a minority of people do. But it doesn’t change the fact that we are all still crazy after all these years.