It isn’t something you forget so easily

Mimi Parker of the band Low died on Saturday night following a battle with ovarian cancer. I recently wrote about seeing this duo in 1997 in a small house in Salt Lake City. I was in the midst of leaving the Mormon church at the time, startled by a man I was dating into the realization that I had been brainwashed. His name was Joe, and he was finishing up two master’s degrees at the University of Chicago as I finished my last term at BYU.

He was the first of a few gay men I would date over the next five years, a baffling hiccup made clear when he told me that I was not smart enough to keep him interested nor were my legs long enough. A few years into my marriage, however, he did send me an email asking that I send him nude photos of myself. I showed this email to Jon, and Jon had to take several long walks around the block given that Joe was one of his closest friends.

Low released one of their best albums at the exact same time Joe sent me this email, and the following song is one I have always returned to.

Low – “Dinosaur Act”

Last year on September 12th, the day after I made what I call a jailbreak from Huntsman Mental Health Institute, I was sitting on the floor of my bathroom listening to a playlist I had made for the month of June and returned to the first song on that playlist while thinking about my recent suicide attempt. It features a small fraction of a lecture by Alan Watts, a man known for popularizing Buddhist philosophy.

How many times had I listened to those 90 seconds of sound, I thought. How many times had I whispered those words to myself when the will to hold on to the next moment of my life made no sense? Normally I like to shuffle playlists, but this particular one I always listened to in sequence because the beginning BOOM of the second song sounds as if Mimi and Alan wrote it specifically to echo straight outta that lecture.

HÆLOS = “Intro/Spectrum”

Low – “Always Trying to Work it Out”