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What Other Floydians Are Saying - "Comfortably Numb"

Sarah C. -- "In the part when we see all the 'bricks in the wall' passing by the canal at Pink's childhood home, notice how everybody's eyebrows are arched and somewhat evil looking. Do you think that maybe Pink shaved his eyebrows to avoid looking like the 'bricks'?"

Author's Addendum: One has to wonder what it is exactly about eyebrows themselves that would a.) make Pink shave his off and b.) make him hallucinate exagerrated eyebrows on his "bricks." It's really interesting how something so small and seemingly inconsequential as eyebrows can make a huge difference in appearance. Just take a look at Pink after he shaves off his body hair...there's something distinctly, I don't know, alien about hisappearance. (Not space-alien, per se, but alien as in apart from human). Maybe that was Pink's intention...the eyebrows are a sort of synechdoche for humanity, or rather, humanness. All of Pink's crazy-eyebrowed bricks have definite human emotions and motives...the mother was too protective, the teacher vindictive, the wife unfaithful (and so on). So maybe Pink's act of shaving his eyebrows (and body hair) was an attempt to make himself inhuman, and so not ruled by the emotions and, ultimately, mortality that man is subject to.

Tiffany B. -- "When I was a child I had a fever, (as we all have), but when I was terribly sick such as with the flu and the accompanying 102 [degree] fever, I had 'fever dreams'. I still have them today, though less frequent. Fever dreams, in my definition are more vivid and infinitely more horrific than your worst nightmares. I can still remember them very clearly. In these dreams my hands would blow up into huge balloons and I would watch them grow and grow until they took up all the space for me to breath. Just the thought of this give me terrible anxiety. And as the lyrics go, I've always heard myself saying upon explanation, 'I can't explain, you would not understand.' I've never been able to place this image into the rest of the song and make it fit, I don't know how he was feeling. But when someone says anything about fever and hands feeling like balloons, I know exactly what they mean."

Gos -- "In 'Comfortably Numb,' there's a scene in which the manager and doctor are having an argument over the virtually-lifeless Pink. Because the audio of the argument is momentarily allowed to fade up over the music (as it were, 'coming through in waves') you don't need to be able to read lips to know that the manager is telling the doctor that Pink is an athsmatic, and that the doctor plainly doesn't believe him, but that the wad of cash that the manager produces quickly silences the doctor's objections to the manager's obviously-corrupt 'diagnosis.' The needle, therefore, would have contained an injection intended for an athsmatic -- likely a mixture of a stimulant (usually an amphetamine such as ephedrine,) coupled with a corticosteroid. Amphetamines increase the heart rate and open the passages of the lungs, while corticosteroids reduce the inflammation that might be found in an athsmatic's lungs, while acting as a secondary stimulant and producing increased energy levels and a somewhat euphoric feeling. In other words, the manager had crafted his lie specifically to get the doctor to prescribe a concoction that would wake Pink up ('get [him] on [his] feet again'). This intention is further reinforced by a lyric in the second verse, 'Can you stand up? I do believe it's working. Good -- that'll keep you going through the show. Come on, it's time to go.' The absolutely corrupt and callous nature of the behavior of both the manager and the physician, two people that nominally exist to watch out for the artist's better interests, is about as bare-knuckled a statement as can be made about the people that Pink has by now surrounded himself with, who form yet another brick in the wall that he has erected around himself to insulate himself from the rest of the world. Far from being the friends and protectors that they portray themselves to be, they have only one interest in Pink -- he is their meal ticket, and if he doesn't go on with the show, nobody's going to get paid. Therefore, they conspire amongst themselves, (smoothing over their respective moral and ethical qualms with the universal lubricant [money]), to get Pink to stand erect onstage, even if it means that they kill him in the process. (After all, if he dies onstage from the combined effects of the drugs that he's taken and the drugs the doctor admisters, the value of his name, his image, and his catalog will rise exponentially the very next day -- either way, his manager will be either a little richer or a LOT richer the morning after this concert. Compared to this and what he stands to lose if Pink doesn't show, the expense of buying off the doctor is chump change.)"

Matt Webber -- "In your analysis of 'Comfortably Numb' you interpret the lines, 'when I was a child, I had a fever, my hands felt just like to balloons,' to be describing an illness Pink has as a child, attributing the feelings in his hands to the fever and later in life, to drugs. After a few viewings of the film, however, I came up with an interesting different theory, one which I thought you might appreciate: Pink sings the lines at the precise moment that he sees the rat on the field. I thought that perhaps his 'fever' was not an illness at all, but what he calls this flashing, noble passion for helping another living thing, a cause he devotes himself to, to an almost martyr level--his 'fever,' if you will. The next lines, 'my hands felt just like to balloons,' are simultaneous with Pink scooping up the rat and carrying it in a very responsible, caring way, back to his home--and while this may seem too far-fetched, I would guess that he is referring to the completely unique, beautiful feeling that even goes so far as to tingle in his hands as he takes on the rat as is own, loving it as he has never a being before. The rest of the lines of the verse, 'Now I've got that feeling once again. I can't explain, you would not understand, this is not how I am. I have become comfortably numb,' seem to fit with my theory easily enough; through his dreaming and soul-searching (and maybe the unanticipated effects of the drugs the doctor gives him), Pink suddenly remembers this time and is filled with the same feelings of hope and compassion he did then, remarking that his doctor, manager, etc., 'would not understand,' because that's really not how he has been most of his life, having been devoid of such feelings--after suffering the loss of them, he has become comfortably numb to their presence or absence, save for this brief moment of clarity and memory."

Anna Vanha -- "In the 'Comfortably Numb' sequence Pink is gradually covered by a mass of worms. Another possible interpretation of this is that many habitual drug users, especially users of cocaine or even more so amphetamines, often suffer or begin to suffer from delusional parasitosis, which is the belief that the sufferer is infested with parasites...a symptom of which can be the belief that the parasites (insects, snakes, etc.) are crawling over the skin. This is why meth users often have pockmarked faces--they've been desperately scratching at themselves. That is also how I read the beginning pool sequence, where Pink is floating and then he thrashes about and claws at his face and the pool goes pink."