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Yoshimi Battles Pink Robots

February 28, 2018
Challenge: Write about a song closely associated with a strong memory for each day in February.

Yoshimi Battles Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips

Her name is Yoshimi
She’s a black belt in karate
Working for the City
She has to discipline her body
‘Cause she knows it’s demanding
To defeat those evil machines
I know she can beat them.

It’s the last one! I made it through a full month of “Music and Memories.” Of course there are many songs that didn’t make the list. Some sad. Some silly. Some just about the time I ran out of gas while listening to “Ms. Jackson.”

I like this song because I fancy myself a sort of Yoshimi. I work for the City, after all, and sometimes I feel like I’m battling the pink robots… which is a weird metaphor for literally anything, but every day in city government brings something new and strange into my life. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle.

Most days it feels like an uphill battle.

So the thing about Yoshimi is that she’s tough. She’s in good shape. She makes others feel safe. These aren’t necessarily qualities that I possess, but I feel pretty confident that most people would agree I try. I renew this struggle pretty often. Some victories. Many defeats But like Yoshimi, I know that it would be tragic if those evil robots win. I know I can beat them.

See, this song is great. It’s weird. It’s so very me. I don’t know who this Yoshimi is, but I figure she’s pretty bad ass. So, I’m going to keep trying to battle the pink robots.


February 27, 2018
Challenge: Write about a song closely associated with a strong memory for each day in February.

Us by Regina Spektor

They made a statue of us
And put it on a mountain top
Now tourists come and stare at us
Blow bubbles with their gum
Take photographs of fun, have fun

If I close my eyes, I can still hear my scream echo off the walls of the stairwell as I came around the corner and was eyeball-to-eyeball with Sinbad’s head poking out of a mailbox; the broken piece of a display for the movie House Guest. I can still hear  your laugh as you jumped back and did this silly hop while your audience, Burns and Rinke, doubled over at my near heart attack.

I used to tell new people the black and white photo of Clint Eastwood was my dad just to see the confusion on their faces. You showed up in assless chaps. We tied the stand for Hard Rain to Don’s Car after renaming it with a Sharpie: Hard Rainey. I’ve never laughed like that in my life.

Parking lot basketball.

Taco Bell Sundays.

The Ghost of Five.

I always liked you best, even when I hated that horrible beard. You know the one.

When I want to feel happy, I remember listening to System of a Down in your Beretta, Bart Simpson sitting on the gear shifter. I remember nights of long talks that were supposed to last forever. I remember how close I was to staying because you made me feel like I belonged, but I was afraid of turning to dust there.

Inevitably, as I run through every detail of those best days of our lives, I remember one of the last evenings. I sat on the counter by register one because it was lower than the others and close to that big popcorn warmer. I was always cold.

Letters. I wrote so many letters to Matt and one night you just said, very uncharacteristically serious: “What are you doing? Don’t do this.”

It’s not like I hadn’t heard it from everyone else. I lost friends over it. The Lasco Ford man begged me, telling me that I was a smart girl about to throw away so much. My parents fought and grieved over it. I didn’t hear anyone, but I heard you because our entire friendship was laughing and it was the first time I’d heard you ever register a frequency non-comedic.

You made me stop and think. But it ultimately made no difference.

Kev, I wonder after all these years, these two decades of friendship what my life would have been if I just listened to you and it makes my knees buckle. I can’t go into the details because I won’t be able to stand any longer, but know that if I could hit the rewind on that moment I would go back to right then, when you asked me what I was doing and say: “You’re right.”

I try not to let it in, but sometimes it creeps right into the place behind my eyes. Sometimes it steals the air from my lungs. This was my first taste of regret. I wonder if you would be okay right now if I’d been there. If I had been able to help.

You played this song over and over and over and I wanted you to stop. I wanted you to look at me; to listen to me. I wanted you to let me help you. But the timing was awful and what a shitty thing to say, I just snapped.

I wanted you to stop playing this song, but when my plane landed in Houston, I put it on repeat and listened over and over for weeks. I cried for you on my way to work. I cried when I came home. I think about you all the time and I hate myself for stepping back, but I’m so far away and it was killing me, Kevin. Killing me.

I have no one else that has been a presence in my life like you. I love you so much. I know we said all these things before. I know you know. But I know I failed you too, and I just want to go back to that moment and say “you’re right.”

I listen to this song over and over and it makes me happy and so sad. I close my eyes and we are sitting on those wooden benches, toasting each other with a bean burrito. Watching the fire works. Sneaking posters. Fearing Bologna Sandwiches. We are taking shots of Peppermint Schnapps in the Bugsy parking lot. I’m talking to you in my hotel room in San Antonio. We’re watching movies on the phone together. You’re wearing that Jake Bugg shirt. You’re my best friend and I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to figure out how to carry you through this.

My Goobs. Someday, it will be better. This song is for Us.

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