Today would have been Matt's 37th birthday. Funny how I could always remember his birthday. I think it had something to do with the fact that it was so close to my dad's. We never really "celebrated" our birthdays. We would usually get each other a book and sign some corny inscription inside it. One year, Matt bought me Stephen King's "IT" and wrote a simple inscription, something like "To my best friend Scott. Someday you're going to be as good a writer as this guy. Your friend, Matt".
Several years ago I was cleaning out the bookshelves and I donated that book to Goodwill. I had never gotten past that inscription. I wasn't really into King anymore, but I held on to that massive tome for a long time. I am sure it was during the last years when the two of us weren't speaking that I gave away the book. I wish I had it now.
Back when we were freshmen in college, Matt wrote me this letter.
Sept. 14, 1988
Hey, Dude! How's it going? God,
this college life is great! I just got done
studying for about five hours tonight, and I
thought I'd write you.
My classes are pretty cool, and my poetry
class is awesome! The prof's not quite
as cool as J.D., though. I joined a "Free
Nelson Mandela" activist group, and am
really getting involved in a lot of stuff.
It's really cool. I haven't been to any parties
yet, but everybody here seems really fun.
How are things with you? Cool, I hope.
I hope things with Lisa are still semi-
cool (no fights by mail, right?), and I'm
sure band is going good.
I got a job working ten hours a week
at the campus library, so I'll get some
spending money that way, I hope.
Our room is pretty cool- a bit sparse,
but livable. We got our refrigerator, and
I guess everything's going all right.
There's some cool record stores down here
and the town is great.
In case you were wondering, my
address is 220 Read Hall, Ohio University,
Athens, Ohio 45701, and my phone number
is (614) 597-9747- I hope to hear
from you soon.
I really miss you, and Lindsay
(although her parents might let her come
here next year- that would be awesome!),
and a very few things about N.O., but
I'm gettin' by.
Well, I'm really pooped, so I think I'll
cruise, but you fuckin' better write me
soon, Guido! Take care and stay Scott,
you hear? And keep writin' those
P.S. It's a town full of losers and
I'm pullin' out of here to win,
because tramps like us- baby, we
were born to run!
Two things struck me after reading this letter: How much Matt loved commas; and how much I still miss him.
Happy Birthday, Matt. R.I.P.