Lessons of the Covid-19 Pandemic and Best Song Lyrics of Modern America – Part 15

By June 15th, 2020

Blog No 117 
June 16, 2020


As of the time of this writing, 117,464 Americans have died from Covid-19 – a pace of about three 9/11 tragedies every week. In honor and memory of these Americans – and the many other people around the world who have died — we have, in this instance, a responsibility to learn how to better contain the next pandemic. We can. And we will. This blog is also dedicated to the thousands of doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals and to all of the first responders who have assisted all of our communities during these last tough  months.


Initial Lessons 1 and 2 

Covid-19 Lesson 1. There will be more pandemics. Covid-19 will not be the last pandemic. Although the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1920 and the current Covid-19 pandemic are in a dubious league of their own, they are not alone. They are, in certain respects, barely unique. In the last 100 years, there have been at least nine other worldwide pandemics  — Asian flu (1957-1958), Cholera (1961-1975), Hong Kong flu (1968-1970), SARS (2002-2004), Mumps (2009), Swine flu (2009-2010), MERS (2012-Present), Ebola (2013-2016), and Zika (2015-2016). And therefore, the first reminding lesson of Covid-19 should be that there will be more pandemics. In our geo-mobile, “smaller” world, there will be even more pandemics. For that reason alone, our first lesson from Covid-19 should be that we must study, memorialize, and put into use methodologies necessary to better contain future pandemics. We cannot merely survive and then forget.

Covid-19 Lesson 2. Importance of Clarity and Facts. One of the widely-shared perceptions of many Americans over the last months is that clarity and facts relating to the Covid-19 pandemic have been very difficult to find. There have been endless press briefings, hundreds of articles, and thousands of rumors and opinions. But whether due to honest confusion, poor presentation, or cynical deception, it is widely believed that facts have too often been either poorly presented or intentionally withheld. Facts have been buried in stories and, innocently or otherwise, poorly presented by our leaders. Facts themselves have a wide array of traits. Many facts are disappointing, discouraging, inconvenient, and downright unwelcomed. But they must still be disclosed with precision, clarity and accessibility to the American people. Just like during times of war, the facts cannot be muddled in their presentation. Americans should not have to rely upon the trickle of selected news from press briefings and from political speeches and tweets. As hard as it may be to accept, the American people can accept even bad facts better than we can live with confusion and rumors. And thus, once again, the second Covid-19 lesson is that facts must not be allowed to be filtered by politics or twisted by the commentary of our news media. Ideally, it is the recommendation of this author that governmentally-released facts must be regularly assembled and should be presented by a single-source, single-voice, independent agency.

 Additional Covid-19 Lessons. In my forthcoming blogs, I will try to identify other lessons which might be drawn from the recent months of Covid-19. 



But before we return to identifying the lessons from Covid-19 or continuing with my series of ideas about “Fixing America,” possibly we can take a brief respite and enjoy some of the Best Songs of Modern America. 

The Best Song Lyrics of Modern America- Part 15

– The Poetry of Our Time –

READING TIME: Just 6 Minutes
By Mack W. Borgen
Recipient of Eight National Book Awards.  For a “cleaner” / non-email presentation of this and my other blogs, essays, and articles, please go to my website at https://www.mackwborgen.com/



Song lyrics are the real poetry of Modern America. The lyrics of our favorite songs roll around in our heads for decades. Almost unconsciously, every day we honor the words of America’s songwriters who said something in that perfect, poetic, or clever way.

Here is Part 14 of my assembled list — done over the last ten years in conjunction with my research for my last series of books, Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America.  For an explanation about the background of this Best Lyrics project, see below. To order copies of my books, just go to http://mackwborgen.com/shop/ .


Some of the Best Short-Lines Ever 

Since You’ve Been Gone (1968) (Aretha Franklin) (B: 1942, Memphis, TN – D: 2018, Detroit, MI).

            “There’s something that I just got to say …

            You left me hurtin’ in a real cold way….” 

Summertime Blues (1968) (Blue Cheer) (Group) (Years Active: 1966-2009).

            “Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna do

            Lord, there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.” 

The Seventies

 Undercover Angel (1977) (Alan O’Day) (B: 1940, Hollywood, CA – D: 2013, Westwood, CA).

            “Cryin’ on the pillow

            Lonely in my bed

            Then I heard a voice beside me

            And she softly said

            ‘Thunder is your night light

            ‘Magic is your dream’

            And as I held her

          She said, ‘See what I mean?’” 

Life’s Been Good (1978) (Joe Walsh) (B: 1947, Wichita, KS).

            “I have a mansion, forget the price

            Ain’t never been there, they tell me it’s nice.

            I live in hotels, tear out the walls,

            I have accountants pay for it all.


            My Maserati does one-eighty-five,

           I lost my license, now I don’t drive.


            I go to parties, sometimes until four

            It’s hard to leave when you can’t find the door.”

Country Western

 Close Enough to Perfect (Alabama) (Group) (Years Active: 1969-2004, 2006-2007, 2010-Present).

            “Right or wrong, she’s there beside me

            Like only a friend would be

            And that’s close enough to perfect for me.


            Don’t worry about my woman

            Or what you think she ought to be

            She’s close enough to perfect for me.” 

I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool (Barbara Mandrell) (B: 1948, Houston, TX).

            “I took a lot of kiddin’; cause I never did fit in

            Now look at everybody tryin’ to be what I was then

            I was country when country wasn’t cool.” 

Explanation and Background of These

“The Best Lyrics of Modern America” Blogs

As noted above, song lyrics are the real poetry of Modern America, and about nine years ago, in 2010, when I started my research for my books, Dead Serious and Lighthearted – The Memorable Words of Modern America, I spent much of the initial year assembling, sorting, and selecting those “memorable” song lyrics to be included in my books.

However, I eventually decided that it was necessary to exclude song lyrics from my books. This was done partly in deference to the needs of book brevity and in bowing recognition to the unavoidable subjectivity of making such selections. But it was also done because most songs are almost definitionally “intra-generational” in that they remain the separate and proud province of each generation. They are a part of each generation’s formative and collective memory – but not beyond that.

Nevertheless, as a result of that year of research, I assembled a relatively massive collection of what may be, by some measures of broad consensus, the greatest song lyrics of Modern America.

I have decided to start presenting them here for your remembrance and enjoyment. I confess that this is partly triggered by the fact that I have already done the fun, but painstaking, work of such assemblage. However, these lyrics blogs are also triggered by the fact that America needs – maybe now more than ever — to reach back and enjoy something or, as best said in 1967 by the Beatles in their song A Day in the Life” — “I read the news today, oh boy.”

Thus, starting on October 9, 2018 with Blog No. 83, I have started posting some excerpts of this author’s humble suggestions of The Best Lyrics of Modern America.

– – –

New Blog Feature – The Fancypants Word of the Day

Gelastic (Adjective; Origin: Greek) 1) Laughter provoking; 2) Relating to as specific kind of epileptic seizure.

Examples of uses in sentences:

“The stand-up comedian’s performance was so gelastic he could barely catch his breath between laughs.”

“His service dog was trained to protect him during a gelastic seizure.”

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Now Recipient of Eight National Book Awards

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— U.S. History, Current Events, and Reference —  

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