Stephen Arons: Marley song not right choice for these times

Published: 3/26/2020 2:30:17 PM

The March 19 letter from Lydia Vernon-Jones invoking Bob Marley’s classic, “Every Little Thing is Gonna Be Alright,” points out some consoling facts about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic thus far.

But in searching for consolation and encouragement, the letter ignores some painful truths about the road ahead. Spending time practicing basketball skills and attending an outdoor sing are not options for many elderly people, urban apartment dwellers, and folks who have lost their jobs but still have children to care for and no way to pay bills.

And though we may be discovering our “inter-connectedness,” it is mostly being practiced in the often-isolating and two-dimensional world of digital media. As for in-person connection with our loved ones — or even shopping for groceries — the letter does not take account of what appears to be an epidemiological fact about COVID-19. It is communicable by persons who have contracted the virus, but have not yet shown symptoms.

Isolation will become increasingly important and increasingly difficult. The letter is laudable for trying to help us find something positive — or at least redeeming — about the world’s pandemic disaster. We all need something to lean on.

But Marley’s first line is “Don’t worry about a thing,” so we can see that this great song is not really apt for our dilemma. A better fit — even in Happy Valley – is Mose Alison’s blues song entitled, “I Don’t Worry About a Thing.” The closing couplet is “I don’t worry about a thing/ ‘Cause I know nothing’s ‘gonna be alright.’”

Stephen Arons

North Hatfield


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