Another unusual advice-giving song. The message here is clear: "How long you think that you can run that body down?"
In other words, how long do you think you can keep up this crazy schedule, with no rest?
This album was released in 1972. The speaker on this song is Simon himself; we know this because the doctor calls him "Paul." Although he was only in his early 30s at the time (yes, he had accomplished his entire S&G career by age 30), we might well assume that the strains of writing and recording his first (post-breakup) solo album-- with all the pressure for hits that came with it-- was wearing on him.
The "Peg" mentioned in the song is Simon's first wife, Peg Harper. She is mentioned again in the song "Call Me Al." A friend of theirs kept forgetting their names; instead of "Peggy" and "Paul," he would call them "Betty" and "Al."
The "kid" in the last verse might well be the listener... or it could (depending on when the song was written) refer to Simon's first child. His name is Harper, in honor of Peg's maiden name. He was born in... 1972. Babies, of course, are notorious for their sporadic and ever-changing sleeping and eating patterns, perhaps not unlike those of rock stars.
Harper's birth might also explain was Peg was doing that was running her own body down-- having and taking care of a newborn.
The somewhat lethargic tempo and languid tone of the piece fits the message: We're all going a mile a minute, and the pace starting to take its toll. Let's rein it in a bit, shall we, before we collapse.
As Billy Joel would later put it in his song "Vienna": "You better cool it off before you burn it out."
Speaking of Harper, he recorded his debut album in the past couple of years, and we will discuss the songs on it with which Simon helped him with after we discuss the songs on Simon's own Surprise. After that, of course, we will turn to the songs on Simon's 2011 album So Beautiful or So What.
Next Song: Armistice Day