The thing about heroin, man, is if you don’t get it, you should just steer clear away.
Ravasi, a 72-year-old native of Merate, Italy, was evidently touched by the influential singer’s death—so moved, in fact, that he was summoned to post his first English message to his 57,000 followers on Twitter. That’s cool, and, to Catholics who also happened to be big time Velvet Underground fans, probably truly appreciated.
What he chose to tweet, however, should be cause for concern—at least in regards to the Cardinal’s understanding of Lou Reed’s whole ethos.
Oh, it’s such a perfect day I’m glad I spend it with you Oh, such a perfect day You just keep me hanging on (Lou Reed)
— Gianfranco Ravasi (@CardRavasi) October 28, 2013
Looks nice and harmless, right? Wrong! Those four lines come from Reed’s track “Perfect Day,” featured on the heroin-abuse flick Trainspotting. The song’s lyrics are vague, but it’s come to be closely associated with drug addiction.
A common reading of the song posits that “you” that Reed was glad to spend the “perfect day” alongside wasn’t a person, but rather that sweet white horse. And the “you” that keeps him “hanging on” is the same damn thing: a whole mess of highly illegal, very very dangerous heroin.
Who are we to say, though? Maybe Cardinal Ravasi knew the subject’s nature all along. After all, Reed did say the stuff made you “feel just like Jesus’ son.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article misattributed the lyrics to the song “Heroin.” We regret the error.