Your daily (mental) covid vaccination

The sky is blue. In former years, that was a basic sentence for English language instruction. In 2020 it’s cause for celebration. Last week the Bay Area (and much of the Pacific Northwest) felt like living at the bottom of an over-steeped cup of tea, if not coffee, as smoke from vicious wildfires sealed us all in under a toxic blanket.

The skyline in the distance behind Crissy Field is barely visible with smoke from wildfires Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

I tried to cling to that cerulean gratitude this morning but had mediocre success at best. But then I messaged a friend from awhile back, and the conversation gave me two doses of my daily Covid vaccine. First, the conversation itself. Second?


I’m developing a particular and potent love for things from the 90’s. They just ooze the ease of simpler times, when grunge music felt rebellious, hosting the Olympics was a good thing, and the only obstacle to endless groove was running out of batteries for your walkman.

Which isn’t to say life was cheery-easy at the time. Many of those anthems still drip angst and melancholy all over my ears and the floor every time I hear them. Case in point, and vaccination #2:

November Rain. Guns and Roses. Use Your Illusion, vol 1. The red one.

This song rocked my world, and continues to evoke a sense of unrequited teen love. Or requited, both were torture. The mere mention of the song was enough to leave something in me grinning and semi-weeping. That blend feels as necessary now as it was in high school, because things are hard. But they’re also silly.

There are just so many things to love about this nine minute music video. (It’s apparently the longest song to ever hit the Billboard Top 10 in the US)

Right from the get-go, Axel Rose’s choice of bedside light that isn’t a light? Magical.

Add the tantalizing piano intro. The mustaches. The bandana! We’re only twenty-eight seconds in and I’ve sloughed off twenty-eight years.

The boisterous disregard for continuity makes me feel like anything is possible. Big blond hair for everyone, and why shouldn’t Jesus be crying blood? I think it’s for all the cigarettes harmed in the making of this video. If you thought a baby-faced Duff McKagan solving a whacky ring mishap with his rock-goth innovation was the high point, just wait, because three decades haven’t dulled the epic nature of Slash peacing out to go wail on his guitar. In…New Mexico?

It’s just rollicking good fun that surely couldn’t get better, until The Wedding, when it does. First off, you know you’re jealous of Axel’s coat. I’d describe the color, or the shoulder pads, but words fail me. But then we are reminded how good things were in the 1990’s, when a sudden rainstorm could make people absolutely lose their frickin minds.

And then, just before 7 minutes into the video, my spirit animal makes his debut. I hadn’t seen this video in years, but when the name popped up, this was the first image that came to my mind. How amazing, how inspirational, to witness a guy who says “It’s raining? People are taking cover? I’m going to dive right through the fucking cake.” And follows through.

Love. Just…love.

Look at that genius at work!

But is the Epic Tank empty? Oh no. Because Slash still has some juice to burn. On top of the piano, no less. And apparently everyone was right to run from the rain, because it seems to have melted half of Axel’s bride. Cuz 90’s. It’s a good lesson to learn, because you never know when the death rain might come again.

But at the end of the day, or at least the extensive music video, even toxic climates can’t stop the rocking. And maybe that’s the lesson I needed today.

Now, for communal vaccination #3, let’s all go jump through our own mental cakes. You’ll feel better for it.