Based on George Lucas's 1971 science fiction film THX-1138, this song reflects the anonymity attached to living with a number for a name in a 25th century police state.
On July 1, 1996 Bobby Steele e-mailed the following to the Misfits Bible:
"We used to have badges with a picture of a robot with 138 on his forehead. I wonder if Jerry has one, or remembers it... He [Glenn] used to tell us that if someone asked what it meant, we should just laugh, and in a mocking tone say "What? You don't know?" and sound real snobby when you say it. Make them feel like every idiot but YOU knows what it means."
Jerry Only told a similar story to a fan after the July 27, 1996 show:
"'138' is like people being treated as androids where you have a number instead of a name, so it's like the human number would be a 138... We had buttons made once, they were robots with '138' that looked like half human android kinda things, long before your Terminator or stuff like that."
Gavin O'Brien, former lead singer of the Faction, emailed the following tidbit to evilive's misfits page on June 10, 1998:
"Glenn told me that '138' was just something he and his friends thought up as kids. It was a code or something, meaning the ability to kill without thinking twice about it. He told us that the night Samhain played with the Faction in Santa Cruz, CA. We were at our guitar player's house where all of us stayed, here in San Jose."
5/10/85 Club Culture - Santa Cruz, CA. Insurgency, Mistaken Identity, The Faction, and Samhain
Glenn Danzig's response to a question I asked during the Danzig Chat held on January 27, 2000 at http://www.twec.com.
evilive: "What did you intend for 138 to stand for? I've read Jerry Only's and Bobby
Steele's take on it..."