Tonight, I decided to bust out a little Britney Spears at karaoke. And while Brit-Brit’s comeback is reason enough to celebrate her by butchering her music, I can honestly say that it had little do with Ms. Spears herself.

In my ideal world, I would have delivered a strong rendition of “Stronger,” but I realized in the moment that I picked my song that it was a little more out of my range than I would have liked. So instead I went with some “Crazy,” as a way of honoring an old friend of mine.

Every December, I think of my friend Lexi. It happened to be that my 2008 Lexi flashback coincided with Karaoke Night.

Lexi and I were floormates freshman year of college; the girl was beautifully wacky and insane. The kind of girl who would, hypothetically speaking (of course), karaoke Sir Mix-a-Lot or do the worm during the Spring Quad Social. Beautifully carefree in some respects, deeply introspective in others, she was a touchstone throughout much of college. She was the girl who could pick up a conversation right where it let off, no matter how much time had passed. She was a good friend.

She also LOVED her some Britney.

Flash forward to winter break junior year. Lexi is set to study abroad in India, so I’ve said my goodbyes and good lucks. She is traveling to visit her sister in New York when an accident happens. She dies. A cluster of her friends discover how hard it is to call unsuspecting friends shortly before the holidays to be sure that the news reaches them before the release from our college.

At the funeral, we learn that Lexi, true to form, had been rocking out to her beloved Britney shortly before the accident took place. A friend in the car with her shared the news with those assembled at her funeral. Despite the tears, we have to laugh. Lex had been rocking out to “Stronger.”

That will be eight years ago December 20. Which is why, come December, I think of my old friend.

And that’s why I decided to deliver the best Britney I could. Not to mention why my hands were shaking so hard while I tried to belt out the words as best I could.

I like to think she loved the rendition.

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