WORDS BY ELIZABETH BARKER (ILLUSTRATION BY JEN MAY)
(It's A Shame About Ray by the Lemonheads came out on June 2, 1992, but I messed it up and thought it was June 20. So happy belated birthday, It's A Shame About Ray. You are maybe my favorite record from when I was very young.)
Once when I was 17 a girl wrote the words "This world is topsy-turvy, and it is mine to eat" onto a nice piece of paper and I knew right then I would love her forever.
Her name was Mary, I met her on my second night of college. I was in the coffeehouse drinking coffee from a paper cup, wearing a scratchy blue and black sweater, and Mary asked me if I wanted to go to a party with her and her friends. I went, and we drank cans of warm Natural Light beer in a corner and found out we loved a lot of the same things.
We both loved the Lemonheads; we loved Evan Dando.
After that we were together all the time. We'd go to frat parties for the free beer and to the roof of the science building to smoke pot; some nights we'd take the bus up to Providence, some nights we went to the beach and then Burger King; one weekend we went to visit her family out in the woods and made a great big chocolate cake from scratch and ate the cake for breakfast in the morning.
But a lot of the time we'd just hang out in her room and listen to CDs and tapes, lying on her bed and filling up the pages of the drawing pads we used to buy at the CVS at the edge of campus. They were the kind with thick white paper and we'd write out song lyrics in excessively lovely penmanship, then decorate our words with flowers and stars and half-moons and hearts and eyes and teardrops and raindrops. One day Mary wrote: "So we take off out Fiona's door, walk until it's light outside," which is a lyric from "Drug Buddy" by the Lemonheads. "Oh!" I said, because I'd never known Evan was singing "Fiona" -- I'd always thought the line was "out the owner's door." But no, not "the owner" -- Fiona! Fiona was so much better. I was so happy to find out it was Fiona.
The first time we met Evan Dando, Mary and I asked him to play "Drug Buddy" at the show at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel that night. Evan said "Suuuuuure" in this sweet and easy sort of way, drawling. He was wearing a corduroy jacket and he was so nice, such a nice, warm, corduroy-y presence. He addressed us each as "babe" and we loved that: "Thank you, babe," "You’re welcome, babe," "Of course I can, babe." After that we called each other "babe" too.
Mary and I met Evan the first time just about a year after we met each other, and by the same time the following year we weren't friends anymore. But that first year was really good. We were very good at being buddies.