Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Released in 1991, produced with minimal budget, Slacker is often credited as being an early catalyst for the independent film movement of the nineties. Now considered a cult film by many, it was released as the 247th addition to the Criterion Collection in 2003.

Now… my purpose for mentioning the film is far from actually related to the film itself. I first caught the flick on IFC a couple of years ago, and knew nothing about it. It was a rainy Sunday morning, I had nothing to do, and watching this seemingly plot-less movie was nothing more than something to do.

Since that first viewing, I came across a song by I Would Set Myself on Fire For You called “Seven.” The mostly instrumental song is punctuated with a short series of rhythmically spoken lines.
“Throw the tent into the river, and the typewriter too. The water is high, the time is nigh, text will tell the truth. Four nine five three one, five eight three, six seven one three.”
I have been analyzing and reanalyzing these lines since I first heard the song. I’ve tried our hardest to find patterns in the series of numbers or correlations back to the lines… I’ve tried decoding the numbers by assigning each a letter of the alphabet, I’ve tried dialing these numbers, texting these numbers, texting the last seven digits to the first five, texting the first five to the last seven… All to no avail. I've been looking for clues online, in rearranging these numbers, in the lines that precede the numbers… and with that, I am proud to say, I’ve finally found a clue.

About a third of the way into Slacker, three twenty-something men are standing on a bridge, one is visibly depressed, the other two trying to console him. One is carrying a book, another a typewriter, and the last, a tent (I’m assuming you can see where I’m going with this by now). One of the two consoling friends begins ranting to the depressed, demanding that he throw the tent, in which the depressed man and his now ex-girlfriend recently made love, and the typewriter, which somehow symbolizes “the bitch that just fucked him over,” into the river. The consoling friend then hands the depressed a book, saying “it’ll all make sense if you just read this passage.” The text will tell the truth.

A clue. Sweet. Two years… and fuck… I’m still no closer to knowing what those dammed numbers actually mean.

49531 583 6713.

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