January 19th, 2022

Hopefully, COVID will pass like disco

By Lethbridge Herald on December 26, 2021.


Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald

A new year is almost upon us and if we don’t awaken with a hangover from too much liquid indulging on New Year’s Day, we will probably still feel one from the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

For the second straight holiday season, spirits have been dampened by the pandemic and within weeks, we’ll be acknowledging the two-year anniversary of this insidious plague.

Will the COVID-19 virus get under control and life return to normal in 2022?  We can all hope but with the emergence of the Omicron strain of COVID, which seems to be the nastiest yet, what are the chances, especially when so many among us refuse to get vaccinated?

During Christmas, NHL games are being shut down and NFL games have been postponed. If COVID again is impacting the world of professional sports, you know the problem is serious again. On Wednesday, the NHL even pulled out of the upcoming Winter Olympics. Like many others, I’m sick of it all but I’m glad I’m not sick. 

I’ve taken all the precautions, wearing masks everywhere, limiting contact and I’ve gotten my booster shot. But thanks to Omicron, my safety isn’t guaranteed either. But I’m still better off than those who still refuse to jump on board with the majority of Canadians and get their three jabs. After so many months of this, it may be tempting to give up the ghost and say ‘Omicron, Delta just do your thing. I can’t take it anymore.” And I’m a guy who survived the disco era, which may have been the musical equivalent of COVID – it was everywhere and inescapable. And it was awful.

I envy those who didn’t grow up with AM radio, and having to listen in the mid to late 1970s to KC and the Sunshine Band, Donna Summer, Tavares or Kool and the Gang on almost every radio station. Trust me, we got sick really quickly of “Funky Town,” “Born to Be Alive,” “YMCA,” “Boogie Oogie Oogie,” “Heaven Must be Missing an Angel” and “Knock on Wood.” 

It was a terrible time for music, turning the radio off being the equivalent of wearing a mask to protect yourself from COVID – it didn’t end disco but it protected you from suffering through it.

We probably didn’t know it at the time but a couple of us had our own solution to the disco nightmare. My pal Roy Sugai and I  played for months one eight-track tape – yes, eight-track – in our vehicles as we bombed Main Street or did the Lethbridge cruise route. That record was Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz” which we played so much, we both wore out copies of it. “Ballroom Blitz” was a classic and I still crank it up when I hear the original or Krokus’ version on satellite radio. I definitely can’t say the same when I’ve come across “That’s The Way I Like It” or “Hot Stuff” while surfing different stations.

I’m sure our friends dreaded riding with me because  after I put “Ballroom Blitz” away, I started buying tapes of a rock band called Moxy. My appreciation of Moxy was so strong one of my pals finally ripped a tape out of the eight-track player and tossed it out of the window during a night cruising in Lethbridge. I wasn’t happy but I’m sure my other passengers were relieved their perceived torment was over.

 Nowadays I’m wondering if they would have had the same reaction if I had discovered the Ramones, the New York Dolls or Devo when I was in high school, those bands which were the COVID vaccine equivalent to disco. Once they emerged, disco disappeared quickly. Hopefully, the vaccines and boosters will eventually have the same effect on the virus.

And COVID is sort of the same as disco or Moxy, except we just can’t  turn it off or toss it out the window. We have to suffer through it – thanks to the unvaccinated and anti-maskers – like we did disco on all the radio stations except the ones that didn’t play country. And my friends and I were no fans of Tammy Wynette or George Jones and their posses either.

But hopefully, the pain of this virus will soon pass like the calamity of disco and we can look back and say ‘that was terrible but we made it through” while preferably not listening to the refrains of “I Will Survive.”

Yeah, I had to go there.

Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter.

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