Put another dime in the jukebox, baby

The losses to COVID-19 continue to pile up, now exceeding 43,000 deaths worldwide, and over 4,000 in the United States. I put in a link so that the total can be tracked in real time, but it’s going to be an awfully big number by the time it is all over. Awfully bigger, I should say.

Everyone who has been lost was someone’s son or daughter, someone’s friend or neighbor, and perhaps someone’s source of support and/or inspiration. Most of them are people whom we won’t know as an individual, but as human beings on planet earth in 2020 we will all feel their passing in one way or another.

I read a piece today that stated we are at a crossroads in this moment, and I believe that’s an apt metaphor. Or to put it in terms of Star Wars, Uncle Owen’s farm on Tatooine has been wiped out and we, like Luke Skywalker in the movie, don’t have the option of returning to life as we once knew it. We can only move forward toward an uncertain new reality.

Maybe it’s ironic that I’m using a Star Wars reference, since Andrew Jack was just announced as a casualty of the coronavirus. Songwriter John Prine has been afflicted by the virus, and he’s hopefully going to pull through. But Joe Diffie was not so fortunate, nor was Terrence McNally, nor was Alan Merrill, who co-wrote the song “I love Rock and Roll.”

Am I citing these cases to suggest that “famous” people, or people in the Arts, are somehow more consequential than others? No, at least not intentionally. I’m just trying to point out that everyone, whether well-known or unknown, touches the lives of others, and thus leaves a legacy behind. It doesn’t have to be a song or a play or a movie role. It might be raising a child that does things to help others out, or planting a tree that continues to grow for years into the future, or maintaining a house that was opened up to others in a time of need.

The point is that everyone has something to offer, whether we know about it or not. I’ve written millions of words in my lifetime, on this blog and in a thousand other formats, and it heartens me to know that people might encounter them one day and have no idea who wrote them, but still be impacted by them, all the same.

The title of this post really doesn’t have much to do with the topic I’m writing about, other than to show how a phrase that once originated in someone’s head will live on forever, or at least for as long as somebody sings along with Joan Jett. Everyone has done, or will yet do, something that will live on after they have left the planet. And that’s worth remembering and celebrating in these dark times that we’re all going through.

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