"Better off in a Pine Box"

sus4

Senior Member
Japan - Japanese
Hi,

Could anyone help me with the meanings of the following lyrics?

(1) "I'd be better off in a pine box on a slow train back to Georgia" (Recorded by Doug Stone)

What does "be better off in a pine box" mean?


Song lyrics are often hard for me to follow.
Thanks!
 
  • sus4

    Senior Member
    Japan - Japanese
    Hi Aupick,

    Thank you for your response! Now the lyrics makes perfect sense to me.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Also, "on a slow train" means you are at the bottom of the social order when it comes to travelers-- in this case you're not even a passenger, you're freight. "Back to Georgia" indicates "going home," a reference to dying.
    .
     

    swift_precision

    Senior Member
    US/English
    Moogey said:
    Must be a regional expression because I've never heard of it. But consider my age of 16 as well.
    I'm not much older than you and I've heard of this expression. I don't believe it's regional.
     

    Amityville

    Senior Member
    English UK
    foxfirebrand said:
    Also, "on a slow train" means you are at the bottom of the social order when it comes to travelers-- in this case you're not even a passenger, you're freight. "Back to Georgia" indicates "going home," a reference to dying.
    .
    Hi ffb - wouldn't you be freight anyway, being dead - I'm not disagreeing though - I have a feeling that pine means that you are bottom of the social order when it comes to dead people.(When I've heard the expression it has just been just a box not specifically pine but I guess it's not solid oak with brass handles either.
    Thanks for those nuggets about Georgia and slow trains which I hadnt consciously thought of before.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Amityville said:
    Hi ffb - wouldn't you be freight anyway, being dead
    Yeah, that's why I said "in this case" (pun intended). Slow trains are either freight trains or "locals," meaning they're passenger trains that stop at every station, as opposed to "expresses." In the days of steam they made "whistle stops" out in the middle of nowhere, wherever a passenger sat waiting atop his luggage. Rich people take the express, us po folk take the milk run. "Take the A Train" is confusing because the letter A usually denotes class-- but in NYC it was the IRT line that ran from the Battery to Harlem.

    Then you could always "ride the rails," meaning hop a freight train-- the ultimate example of a "slow train." Not an issue when you're in a pine box though.
    .
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    I think the connection between pine and death isn't restricted to that expression (a pine box). And it isn't restricted to English either. In French, we have the same kind of expressions.

    And how about this one coming directly from gangster movies?
    He's going home in a pine overcoat :D

    want more ? his best deal would be if he got himself measured up for a cheap wooden overcoat. I know there's no pine in it but I couldn't resist. I can just imagine Boggie or someone saying that.
     

    mamboney

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    A pine box is a coffin for a person who could not afford a better one.
    Indigent people are buried in pine coffins.
    If you are an orphan, a prisoner, poor, or a member of a lower social class you will be buried in a pine coffin/box.
    Wards of the state are buried in pine coffins.

    If you are buried in one, it implies that no one cared enough about you to provide a more sturdy, proper receptacle for your body.

    Pine coffins are very basic constructions - just a box to put the dead in.
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    I disagree. Pine is beautiful. It bespeaks humility and simplicity. I can't think of a better time to express humility.
    3. Simple Shaped Casket

    A traditional style coffin that reflects a simpler world. This is an ideal model for those wishing to express moderation and economy, without sacrificing good taste. Dignified in its simplicity, this model is similar to what we monks bury our brothers in. The cross is optional. Available in Oak and Pine.

    Oak: $995
    Click for larger image.
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Pine: $875
    Click for larger image.


    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Casket Specifications
    Size: 80.5" long x 17.5" wide at head & foot,
    28.5" wide at shoulder x 16.75" high
    Weight: Oak = 120lbs, Pine = 97 lbs
    [/FONT][/FONT]
     

    mamboney

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    river said:
    I disagree. Pine is beautiful. It bespeaks humility and simplicity. I can't think of a better time to express humility.
    [URL="http://trappistcaskets.com/menuimages/simpshapedoak.jpg"]http://trappistcaskets.com/menuimages/simpshapedoak.jpg[/URL]http://trappistcaskets.com/menuimages/spacer.gif[URL="http://trappistcaskets.com/menuimages/shapepine.jpg"]http://trappistcaskets.com/menuimages/shapepine.jpg[/URL] http://trappistcaskets.com/menuimages/spacer.gif http://trappistcaskets.com/menuimages/spacer.gif 3. Simple Shaped Casket

    A traditional style coffin that reflects a simpler world. This is an ideal model for those wishing to express moderation and economy, without sacrificing good taste. Dignified in its simplicity, this model is similar to what we monks bury our brothers in. The cross is optional. Available in Oak and Pine.

    Oak: $995http://trappistcaskets.com/menuimages/spacer.gifClick for larger image.
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Pine: $875http://trappistcaskets.com/menuimages/spacer.gifClick for larger image.


    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Casket Specifications
    Size: 80.5" long x 17.5" wide at head & foot,
    28.5" wide at shoulder x 16.75" high
    Weight: Oak = 120lbs, Pine = 97 lbs
    [/FONT][/FONT]
    I was merely trying to clarify the usage of "pine box", in a literary sense. And yes, I do agree with you that pine is beautiful. Most of the furniture in my home is pine! :)
    It is, however,common custom for indigent persons & wards of the state to be buried in simple pine boxes in the US, that is all that I was trying to say.
     
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