All That Matters

Les Marcott-Scene4 Magazine

Les Marcott

You see it on TV, hear it on the radio, absorb it online, see it upon the faces that you meet – Corona…corona…corona.  It’s the 800 lb. virus in the room.  It casts a pall on everything!  So as a writer, what else would I write about?  Covid -19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus.  It affects and infects the culture, politics, the arts, your days, your nights, your trip to the bathroom, boardroom, and your wheeling and dealing in the backroom.  The panic and pandemonium associated with this pandemic is unprecedented.  Social distancing is the new normal.

A constantly changing and evolving situation – the famed bureaucrat Donald Rumsfeld talking about a completely different situation but pertinent to the Corona virus, once said ‘there are known knowns and known unknowns”.  What we find out today may not be true tomorrow.  And everyone seems to be an expert on this menace - your uncle Joe and aunt Bertha, the neighborhood conspiracy theorist, the underground prophet, the presidential candidate who gets the coronavirus mixed up with Corona beer.  My original intent was to write a scholarly dissertation on this menace, maybe make comparisons to the 1918 “Spanish” flu pandemic.  But who would read it?  Everybody’s too busy hoarding water and toilet paper.  And anyway, my best advice is to trust Dr. Anthony Fauci – the well respected and highly regarded head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  The good doctor has been at the forefront of overseeing numerous health crisis over the years and has served both Democratic and Republican administrations.  He is not a political hack but a well-informed, well-reasoned man of science.  Take his recommendations seriously.    

At some point, the definitive history of this pandemic will be written.  Perhaps someone will write the great American Coronavirus novel.  It will be called Fear and Loathing in Coronaville or Love and War in the Time of Corona or something else entirely. All I know is I won't be writing it.

How do we get through this?  For me in challenging situations I find solace in music, humor, and of course those closest to me.  I mentioned the other day, that when all this corona mess is over with, one of the first songs I would play would be ELO’s jaunty, celebratory Mr. Blue Sky.  The song speaks of a long period of rain which brings gloom and doom to the English countryside.  Though not intended, it could be a metaphor for the coronavirus itself.  Things won’t be better until Mr. Blue Sky reappears.  Also, Leonard Cohen’s oft covered part prayer/part anguish Hallelujah resonates with me.  My favorite version of the song is by The Ten Tenors from Australia.

Finding humor in all of this is a little harder.  Should we laugh?  If not now, when?  It’s the same question that was asked after 9/11.  People may not remember now, but it was within a couple of weeks of that horrific event when Saturday Night Live as well as David Letterman let us know that it was ok to be funny again.  I started toying around with the lyrics of Jimmy Buffett’s Wasting Away Again in Margaritaville.  I changed it to Wasting Away Again in Coronaville:

  • Nibbling on baked beans, it’s all there is it seems
    Wouldn’t touch those tourists with a ten-foot pole
    Been here all season, social distancing is the reason
    You know my temper is starting to boil
    Wasting away again in Coronaville
    Searching for that hand sanitizer I bought
    Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
    But I know it’s that infected bat’s fault

Well you get the gist of it.  But it still doesn’t convey the right mix of humor and pathos that I’m shooting for.  What comes closer to the mark is a song I had written during the global financial meltdown of 2008.  With a little tweaking, its perfect.

  • One Nuclear bomb can ruin your day
    The coronavirus is here to stay
    Anthrax is deadly the experts say
    I’ve got a fever and a cough, hope I’m ok.
    But all that matters is that you’re here with me
    Everything could shatter and fall into the sea
    I can’t change the course of history
    But all that matters is that you’re here with me

    The stock market is up, and then it’s down
    Empires tumble, crumble to the ground
    I’ve been reading the headlines
    I’ve been watching the news
    I’ve got those doomsday scenario blues
    But all that matters is that you’re here with me
    Everything could shatter and fall into the sea.
    I can’t change the course of history
    But all that matters is that you’re here with me

    The light at the end of the tunnel
    Is an oncoming train
    All our losses add up to more than our gains
    If it weren’t for bad luck, we’d have no luck at all
    If you live on the edge, you’re bound to fall
    But all that matters is that you’re here with me
    Everything could shatter and fall into the sea
    I can’t change the course of history
    But all that matters is that you’re here with me

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Les Marcott is a songwriter, musician, performer and a Senior Writer and columnist for Scene4.  For more of his commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2020 Les Marcott
©2020 Publication Scene4 Magazine




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