Random Erik

Ramblings on Cartoons, Music, Pop Culture and Whatever

Once again, the day is saved…

It’s no secret that I’ve had some dark periods in my life. No, don’t worry, things are pretty good right now, and unless Tom Cruise marches the Scientoligists into power, modern pharmaceuticals have the promise of keeping things that way. I’m healthier and happier at 40 than I remember being at any time before. Sure, there are lots of things to work on, but at least I can now clearly see what those things are.

Four years ago, I did hit an all-time low. I felt angry and depressed and hopeless and isolated, and I’d stopped taking pleasure in my usual hobbies and interests. Then Maggie bought me a gift, though I don’t remember if it was just for fun or if it was for a birthday or some such. A CD entitled Heroes and Villains. And with that gift, Maggie became an honorary Powerpuff Girl.

If you don’t know the Powerpuff Girls, you’ve missed one of the great pleasures of our current cartoon golden age. Blossom, commander and leader. Bubbles, the joy and the laughter. Buttercup, the strongest fighter. Powerpuffs save the day. Three bubble-headed, large-eyed kindergarteners with no digits and cute little Mary Janes on their feet. Without them, Townsville would have long ago succumbed to the evil machinations of super-intelligent monkey Mojo Jojo. In every episode, once again the day was saved by… the Powerpuff Girls!

Heroes and Villains featured songs inspired by these wonderful little girls. And the songs proved to be every bit as joyous and exuberant as the show. Better yet, the album had Indie cred with songs by Shonen Knife, Apples in Stereo and Pixies front-man Frank Black. Great pop music, all of it, and you can hear the bands having fun in the recordings. It’s pretty hard to find a current pop song that hasn’t had all of the spontaneity and fun produced out of it. So this album was the real deal.

The CD ended up in my VW’s CD player, and stayed there for a very long time. This was before we moved downtown, and I was driving a lot more than I currently do. I’d get in the car feeling miserable, but when the album started to play, part of that misery lifted. I’d crank the speakers as far as they would go when the fuzz guitar of Shonen Knife’s Buttercup (I’m a Super Girl) started. The lyrics are the stuff of great pop music: sincere, frivolous, and filled with enthusiasm.

You know I’m a super girl
Yes I’m a punky girl
I never say die
Because I like to fight!

Yep, I’m a reasonably adult guy, but I sang along as loud as I could. The gender was wrong, but the attitude was just what I needed. Sure, I felt terrible and wasn’t sure what to do. But if a little girl in a green dress wouldn’t say die when faced with overwhelming odds then I could take the same stand. I could fight, and I did.

The album contains no music that will survive the centuries and be lauded for its genius. But it’s fun and fierce and it pulled me out of a very bad place.

So once again, the day was saved. Thanks to the Powerpuff Girls. And thanks to Maggie, my own little cartoon super-hero.

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