Steely Dan aren't always known for their lyrics - their career was made on their jazzy sound, more than anything else - making "Reelin' In the Years" is something of an exception. It's today's Lyric of the Day, the 19th in the series.
"Your everlasting summer
You can see it fading fast
So you grab a piece of something
That you think is gonna last
You wouldn't know a diamond
If you held it in your hand
The things you think are precious
I can't understand"
I love this lyric. It's metaphoric, but it's really easy to unpack: it's important to know when we have something special, something that we need to hold on to.
Sometimes we are blind to the beauty of that which we possess. So, on one hand, this lyric is urging us to be more aware of the great things in our lives - the diamonds in our hands - and know how invaluable these treasures are.
To me, there is another interpretation of this lyric. I'm seeing it from the backwards point of view: maybe it's not up to you to tell me when I have a diamond in my hand. Maybe it's not your job to understand what I think is precious. Some advice is always welcome, but I think this lyric can also offer a lesson in individuality. One man's trash is another man's treasure, as the saying goes.