In a year, where I have said things I never thought I would say before, I discovered yet another example of words that would never be uttered in any other year as 2020 rolls on like a Summer battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Before this year, if you had told me that I would say “that Vancouver Canucks playoff game was great last night” in September, I would have never believed you. But here we are as hockey is being played during the summer along with baseball and basketball in a year of sports like no other in recent memory.
The reason for the shuffling of the sports calendar, and the introduction of sports bubbles, is the COVID-19 virus that is quickly approaching the 200,000-death mark in America.
Just let that sink in for a minute. Sometime before the end of September, over 200,000 Americans are likely to be dead as a result of COVID-19.
It didn’t need to be this way, but instead of looking back, it is time to look forward and figure out how to bring an end to this deadly disease.
Next week, Labor Day Weekend will provide another opportunity for people to either act responsibly, or to crowd the beaches like there is no pandemic.
While I used to look forward to extended holiday weekends, now each holiday brings the knowledge that cases are likely to spike two weeks after it as many people have given up trying to wrangle the virus that has a stranglehold on the country.
Despite that staggering death toll, there is still no unified plan coming out of Washington, D.C. on how to get a handle on the virus other than saying, “it is what it is.”
The other day as I was trying to wrap my mind around the latest wrinkles of 2020, it occurred to me that 2020 is like a mashup of Dixie Chicks songs. Like many people, I had a musical experimental phase, and for reasons I do not understand to this day, my experimental phase took me to the world of country music.
As a result, I now have Forrest Gump like clarity, not about a life describing box of chocolates, but instead about life during a pandemic being like the songs of a country trio.
Of course, before going any further it should be said that the Dixie Chicks are now known as the Chicks. I guess if Prince had started with multiple words in his name, he could have shortened his name and saved us all the trouble of trying to figure out how to pronounce a symbol.
But while 2020 has offered a bit of everything, except for purple rain falling from the sky, for our example here let us focus on the Chicks. Also, there are still three months left for that purple rain to fall. After all, everything is possible in 2020.
In comparing 2020 to a Chicks song, we could do the easy route and say “Wide Open Spaces” perfectly describes the need for social distancing. I mean how can one not think that the lyric, “She needed wide open spaces, room to make her big mistakes, she needs new faces, she knows the highest stakes,” doesn’t perfectly address social distancing and face masks?
There really is no higher stake right now than getting the virus under control so that people can roam free once more without fear of catching a virus rolling like a tumbleweed from coast to coast.
Of course, if “Wide Open Spaces” doesn’t do it, one could always point to the song “Long Time Gone” when recalling memories of life before the pandemic came to town. If we were to use that song our lyric of choice would be, “Oh, it’s been a long time gone. Long time, long time, long time gone.”
The 2020 rewrite would likely include the words, “Oh I ain’t sat inside a restaurant to eat since I don’t know when, and my hair hangs down to my shin.”
While it really does seem like pre-pandemic life is a long time gone, those days will return. So, no that isn’t the lyric that best sums up 2020.
For friends and families of the nearly 200,000 Americans who have died as a result of COVID-19 the song “Tonight the Heartache’s on Me” could sum up their feelings as they deal with the loss of loved ones.
The lyric that would address that situation from the Chicks catalog would be “Tonight, the heartache’s on me. Oh yes, tonight, the heartache’s on me.”
With so many people being impacted by COVID-19, the heartache is shared in nearly every household as more and more Americans become impacted by the relentlessness of COVID-19.
While that would have been a perfect lyric to also sum up the feelings parents have of sending their children back to school in the middle of a pandemic, those weren’t the lyrics that first came to mind either.
I could have also used the 2020 Chicks song “March, March” when describing 2020, with lyrics like, “Watchin’ our youth have to solve our problems. I’ll follow them, so who’s comin’ with me?” and “Lies are truth, and truth is fiction. Everybody’s talkin’, who’s gonna listen?”
While those lyrics perfectly describe the current climate of protests and misinformation surrounding issues of social justice and COVID-19, those also were not the Chicks lyrics that first made me think of 2020 being like one of their songs.
To be fair, all of the lyrics mentioned above prove the point of 2020 being like a mashup of Chicks songs. However, it was verse four of “Goodbye Earl” that convinced me that 2020 is like a Chicks song when I woke up on September 1.
For those unfamiliar with the song, and the fourth verse, it goes as such, “Well the weeks went by and spring turned to summer and summer faded into fall.”
If that does not describe the blur of 2020, then I don’t know what does. The pandemic arrived in the winter, bloomed in spring, and now as summer prepares to make way for fall, it is still with us with little signs of slowing down.
At this rate, perhaps we can pack a lunch and throw COVID-19 in the trunk by early next year when a vaccine becomes available.
Taking responsibility and social distancing from sea to shining sea to starve COVID-19 of energy certainly isn’t working thanks to stubborn pockets of ignorance and virus deniers.
As an aside, as a lifelong fan of Dennis Franz, his portrayal of Earl, in the star-studded video truly is some of his best work. The music video for “Earl had to Die” won both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association Video of the Year Awards in 2000. Additionally, the video was ranked sixth on CMT’s 2004 ranking of the 100 Greatest Music Videos.
Franz may have earned a Golden Globe Award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and four Primetime Emmy Awards for his work as detective Andy Sipowicz on NYPD Blue, but he really shone as Earl.
Although the seasons are rolling together like the lyrics of a song, there is one more Chicks song to help set the mood for 2020. I am referring to the song, “Some Days You Gotta Dance.”
Yes, COVID-19 is stressful, frustrating and deadly. People have turned the response into a messy tribal warfare complete with paint balls and finger pointing. To that I say, as the Chicks sang, “Some days you gotta dance. Live it up when you get the chance. Because when the world doesn’t make no sense. And you’re feeling just a little too tense. Gotta loosen up those chains and dance.”
In a year unlike any other, we can now add me saying, “2020 is like a bunch of Chicks songs” to things I never thought I would say, or let alone write about. But there you have it, a lyrical landslide that rolls 2020 up like a tarpaulin. Now we just need to trust the scientists to take it from there so we can all say goodbye to Mr. Heartbreak known as COVID-19.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I am off to find a roadside stand that sells Tennessee ham and strawberry jam.
Copyright 2020 R. Anderson