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Written: Melendres Street, Las Cruces NM, 1977


According to Knees’ memory, he was inspired to write this as a rebuttal of Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” garbage, but was that phrase used in 1977? Nancy didn’t get elected until 1980. Yet Knees distinctly remembers hating the idea of saying no, and wanting to contradict it in a song. Maybe he didn’t write this until the early 80s? In any case the plot and the guitar work is some of Knees’ best.


When I was seventeen

The world was at war

I delivered groceries

To women and old men

And though it happened long ago,

It’s never left my mind

What an old grey-haired mailman

Had to say to me then.


One day I rang the bell

At a house way downtown

The old mailman was resting

On the steps down below

The woman at the door

Had heartbreak in her eyes

When she asked me,

“Please stay a while.”

I said I had to go.


She smiled and said, “Some other time,”

As I backed down the stairs

She closed the door and time stood still

For the mailman and me

We stood there without speaking

Till he looked me in the eyes

He said “You’re young

And now you own the world

But someday you will see,


That it’s a sin to say no

To a woman who’s so lonely

She sees the man she loves so much

In a boy of seventeen

It’s a sin to say no

When a man like me’s so lonely

One day you’re gonna wake up

And you’ll be old as me.


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