Colette Sheridan: The Jerusalema challenge is much needed levity in dismal times

We all need a bit of levity during this pandemic, so says Colette Sheridan
Colette Sheridan: The Jerusalema challenge is much needed levity in dismal times

MIRACLE TALE: French nun Sister André, who survived Covid at age 116 and celebrated her 117th birthday in style last week

THERE’S nothing funny about Covid-19, but in order to get through these dismal times, we need all the levity we can get.

Which is why there is such a proliferation of humorous videos posted on social media. They acknowledge the tedium of our groundhog days and the frustration of parents trying to work remotely at their jobs and home-school their children.

Never before has so much been asked of so many people for so little reward. (All we’re hoping for is a return to normality.)

The only chink of light on the horizon is vaccination — but when? The roll-out is slow. And the jab is not without its limitations.

Harbingers of doom have said we’ll still be living with/battling against the virus for the next three to five years. It would make you want to crawl back to bed and shutter out the world, preferably with strong drink.

For these reasons, the occasional bit of distraction is welcome. Admit it — Jerusalema, the upbeat gospel- influenced song by South African DJ and record producer, Master KG, featuring vocalist, Nomcebo — is a goose-bump raiser.

It’s nothing if not catchy, enticing us to move and to smile at the sight of everyone from the gardaí to an elderly Irish woman in her living room dancing to it beats. Not to mention a couple of young African boys, barefoot and in sync with the disco rhythm. What’s not to like?

However, with angry punters demanding that the police watchdog investigate gardaí for making their hit Jerusalema video, you’d wonder if they just got out of the wrong side of the bed.

What is wrong with these people? They are accusing gardaí of wasting resources in making the video. And this small cabal of cranks is even trying to claim that the cops were not socially distancing in the video.

Get off the stage, lads! Talk about being spoilsports.

The only justification for complaining about the video would be if it was made during work hours. I’m sure the gardaí didn’t spend ‘company time’ doing their dance moves. And they certainly look socially distanced in the video.

Gardai taking part in the Jerusalema Challenge.
Gardai taking part in the Jerusalema Challenge.

The complaints were made despite the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) tweeting the garda video themselves — and telling people not to bother giving out about it.

“We’d like to confirm that GSOC will NOT be taking any complaints about these dancers. Nice moves,” said the ombudsman Twitter account.

That should be the end of the grim naysayers trying to make an issue of what is just a bit of fun — uplifting fun in our downtrodden lives.

It’s unlikely that any of the complaints will be investigated by the GSOC. The commission is there to look into allegations of wrongdoing by officers. 

A bit of joyful jigging (albeit in uniform) is hardly grounds for investigation.

This is not to diminish, in any way, the suffering of people who have had or have Covid-19 or who have lost loved ones to the virus. The sheer awfulness of coronavirus was brought home to viewers last week watching Covid-19 — The Third Wave on RTÉ.

The documentary was made at Tallaght University Hospital and the level of access ensured that the full picture of hospital life in a pandemic was conveyed.

From frontline staff risking their lives to look after patients, to invitations to the dying to issue end of life requests, viewers were left in no doubt that this virus is wreaking havoc.

One man asked that he not be left to exist as a vegetable in a wheelchair. 

The anti-vaxxers and Covid deniers should watch this documentary and have their blinkered eyes opened to the seriousness of the virus.

That the virus is unpredictable, what with virulent variants, hardly needs saying. But sometimes, it can be unpredictable in a good way.

Surely one of the recent uplifting stories was that of a French nun, Sister André, who celebrated her 117th birthday last week. Remarkably, she survived a bout of Covid.

She celebrated her astonishing longevity with a delicious lunch, starting with port wine. This was followed by foie gras with hot figs. The main course was roasted capon with mushrooms and sweet potatoes followed by a two-cheese platter —Roquefort, and goat cheese — and a few glasses of red wine.

Finally, she enjoyed her favourite dessert — a raspberry and peach flavoured Baked Alaska — with some champagne.

Maybe we should all have a fantasy meal planned for a post-Covid world. 

But in the meantime, let’s not entertain people getting in a tizz about doing the Jerusalema.

The #JerusalemaChallenge has been compared to the Macarena — but it’s much better.

The Swiss police, who challenged the gardaí to do the dance, flew the Irish flag at their HQ in a seal of approval.

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