I bought the soundtrack, to see if I'd imagined it. I hadn't. The song is nine and a half minutes long. The singer pleads with the listener/lover to remember him and their failed but forever love. He is obviously lost but finds something to laugh at in the notion that someone told him there is "eloquent graffiti" to be found at the pearly gates. The scrawled missives there read, "Until we meet again," "Fuck the Man," "Tell my mother not to worry," "Lost and found," "Don't look down," and "Someone save temptation."
At the end of the song, the singer is brokenhearted. He pledges, though, that "If I make the pearly gates, [I'll] do my best to make a drawing of God and Lucifer, a boy and girl, an angel kissin' on a sinner, a monkey and a man, a marching band, all around the frightened trapeze swinger."
When I heard it alone the other night, I let go of the trapeze bar and let myself fall. It was one of those times when everything comes together, everything makes sense, everything becomes clear, and then the lesson disappears and you're on your way again. On your own again.
It was a breadcrumb. I did not jump up and down. I was more like the guy in Garden State, who, after the girl puts the Shins on and says, "This song will change your life," listens politely for a few seconds and takes off the headphones. He's had enough with people telling him what will or won't change his life, and he'd rather just compare notes with her on where they're going next.