“Wichita Lineman” & “The Telephone Lineman”

Rockwell Painting

This post is more “Man Mythology” than “Bear Mythology” as this is about a painting and song about the life of a telephone lineman.  I’ve always found the above Norman Rockwell painting, The Telephone Lineman, as something hauntingly sad.  Whenever I drive through the open roads of America and stare at awe with the sheer number of telephone poles around me, I would keep thinking about such telephone linemen.  Of course, I wonder about the roads and highways as well, but I rarely see a group of individuals working on telephone poles.  There’s just this sense of isolation and loneliness when it comes to working on these lines…

The following is one of my favorite Glen Campbell song, “Wichita Lineman.”  The song, written by Jimmy Webb in 1968, is based on an inspiration of seeing a

“solitary lineman in rural northern Oklahoma.  The lyric describes the longing that a lonely telephone or electric power lineman feels for an absent lover who he imagines he can hear “singing in the wire” that he is working on. Such a sonic vibration is commonly induced by wind blowing across small conductors. There is uncertainty as to which “Wichita” is intended; Wichita, Kansas, Wichita County, Kansas (which is over 250 road miles away), Wichita Falls, Texas, and Wichita County, Texas have all been suggested as possibilities, and others believe that Webb had entitled the song “Ouachita Lineman,” but that Campbell later changed that title to its present form.”

[SOURCE: Wikipedia]

Wichita Lineman

I am a lineman for the county
And I drive the main roads
Searching in the sun for another overload
I hear you singing in the wire
And I can hear you through the whine
And the Wichita lineman is still on the line

I know I need a small vacation
But it don’t look like rain
And if it snows that stretch down south won’t ever stand the strain
And I need you more than want you
And I want you for all-time
And the Wichita lineman is still on the line

And I need you more than want you
And I want you for all-time
And the Wichita lineman is still on the line

This song, for some reason, reminds me of Sesame Street.  Specifically, this song by Joe Raposo: “Everybody Sleeps.”  Even more specifically is the construction daddy bear sleeping dangerously on top of a building.

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