Geek Girl Jukebox: Shop Vac by Jonathan Coulton

Now, before you say, “But e, JoCo is all about the CODE MONKEY and that’s why it’s geek music!”… hear me out. I am a word whore. I love words. Big words, little words, hyphenated words, words borrowed from other languages. I’m one of the few lunatics who loved the analogies section of the SAT.

That being said, Jonathan Coulton is my personal hero because he weaves such fantastic tales within his songs, tales that go much deeper than you realize on the first (or fifth) listen. He can take the simplest phrases and make him intriguing and beautiful.

ShopVac is one of my favorite songs of his, dealing with the “suburban angst” of a married couple.

Here’s him doing the song live:

and while you’re listening, here are the lyrics:


We took the freeway out of town
We found a place to settle down
We bought a driveway and a swingset and a dog
You got your very own bathroom
I got my very own workshop in the basement We sit around staring at the wall-to-wall
Take field trips to our favorite mall
Waiting for the day when all the kids grow up and leave us here

If you need me

I’ll be downstairs
With the shop vac
You can call but I probably won’t hear you
Because it’s loud with the shop vac on
But you’ll be OK
Cause you’ll be upstairs
With the TV
You can cry and I probably won’t hear you
Because it’s loud with the shop vac on

We hung a flag above the door
Checked out the gourmet grocery store
I bought a mower I can ride around the yard
But we haven’t got real friends
And now even the fake ones have stopped calling

Maybe if you forget to hide the keys
I’ll take a ride to Applebee’s
I’ll come home drunk on daiquiris and throw up on the neighbor’s lawn


I like the Starbucks here that’s better than the other one
Because the other one’s not as good
They really need to put a light there cause it’s hard to turn
It’s hard to make a left turn

And when it’s time to go to bed
I’m still awake inside my head
I’m floating up above the house and looking down
I guess I gotta go back there
I guess there never was any other answer

And as the freeway hums the cars go by
The headlights roll across the sky
Many miles away but I can see them speeding through the dark


Ah, I love you JoCo. Musically speaking, I think you could learn a few more keys to play in, but as far as lyrics and catchy melodies, you have my heart.

About e

Since 2008, E. Foley of Geek’s Dream Girl has been helping geeks from around the world find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles for her fellow geeks and guides them through the perilous waters of the dating scene and out the other side. She's totally proud to report that she's even caused a couple geek weddings! She lives in Maryland with DaveTheGame, her adorable cats, Mr. Peanut & Don Juan, and Titania, Queen of the Cocker Spaniels. (Email e, or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

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