My longest and best friend, Bengi, and I met behind the counter of a McDonald's restaurant in Milford, MA in 1987. For a moment, he didn't like me, but then we became fast friends and have been side-by-side ever since.
By 1989, we were living together in a townhouse in Attleboro, MA that we affectionately referred to as The Heavy Metal Playhouse. We would live there for almost four years before Bengi moved to Connecticut for a new job and I became homeless while awaiting trial for a crime I did not commit.
Eventually I found my way to Connecticut as well. We launched a DJ company in 1997 that still operates today, and we remain the best of friends.
Back in 1989, shortly after moving in together, Bengi and I spent about half an hour in our Attleboro kitchen debating if we should be referred to collectively as "Matty and Bengi" or "Bengi and Matty."
We discussed the merits of each for some time, listing the pros and cons of each. Eventually we decided that "Matty and Bengi" made more sense. The ending sounds of the word "and" and the beginning sounds of "Matty" were too similar and seemed to run into each other when spoken aloud, creating a verbal smudge. The hard constant opening in Bengi served as a break from the "and" and thus prevented this smudging of words.
Needless to say I was pleased, since my name was to come first, but neither of us argued on behalf of ourselves but instead on behalf of the best pairing.
So we became Matty and Bengi, a word combination that was used quite frequently as we hosted raucous parties and met many new people. Years later, when we launched our DJ company, that name combination went back into heavy rotation with our clients and continues to be used quite often today.
Oftentimes when I hear our names spoken in that familiar combination, I am transported back into that kitchen in Attleboro, MA, with its plastic, floral chairs, scuffed linoleum floors, and the cupboards with our names affixed to the doors.
Two teenagers, just out of high school, living on their own, making important decisions that would echo 28 years into the future.