As I have mentioned before I never met Eugene, so I never had a chance to ask him about his songs, so I can only listen to his words and music and guess what he was thinking. Of all of his songs I believe that the song that most closely displays his thinking and philosophy is Fool or Wise Man.
I was familiar with this song before Eugene was murdered, but it was after he was killed that I really listened to it, because it starts by talking about a hypothetical day in the future that he willl die.
And yes - it really is a thoughtful reflection of his life and who he was, but it is also very much a Eugene song, and as such, it has several lines in it that - lets just say - create a contrast with the seriousness of what may be Eugene's most serious and thoughtful song.
The opening lines are: "one morning I will open my eyes for the last time, then shortly I will close them for all time". He goes on to set up what may the quintessential Eugene metaphor, a line so out of place that it took quite a few listens to realize what he was saying - he was using a baseball metaphor to talk about death, but what's really impressive it's a reference that only a baseball fan would catch.
The line is with "these last precious moments, can I live a life, though it is much too late, and a called third strike".
"a called third strike" - you gotta love it. Only Eugene.
But of course there's more. First the serious stuff - he starts to literally talk about life "yes this life is for living, sharing with and in giving, taking some and to be sure, returning a lot more". These lines do remind me that Eugene was Catholic.
Anyway, if you were someone who listened to Eugene songs for their absurd twists and unexpected lines, this song does not disappoint. Because the rest of this discussion of life goes - "only fools have the answers, wise men only have questions, one learns through trial and error, - stop me if I'm a bore". Wow - didn't see that coming, at least the first 3 or 4 times I heard it.
Anyway, this is a much deeper song than Eugene's usual ones and the one I most feel I got to know who he was by way of.