DeadSplinter Up! All Night: Friends

A black and white man bump fists

Happy anniversary DeadSplinter! It’s been a heck of a year and, although I haven’t been all that active a commenter, being able to check in here with you guys has been a most welcome respite from the tumult and tragedy of 2020. I wanted to write a nice post for the occasion. Something like @butcherbakertoiletrymaker ‘s awesome piece about his grandfather. But my life has been a mess lately. Early on I wrote about reconnecting with an old girlfriend of mine. We’ve been doing the long distance thing between Boston and L.A., and she was going to try to move out here. But, the stress and difficulty of making that happen has kind of made things fall apart, unfortunately. Oh well. Maybe some things just aren’t meant to be.

Sorry to be a downer. Enjoy this charming Beach Boys track about longtime friends. It’s from my favorite of their albums, Friends which is as sweet and good-natured as rock and roll gets.

Friends – The Beach Boys

Thank you for your continued support of DeadSplinter!



  1. …I’m a little late & I guess there might still be better options available even so…but being as I’ve always liked this tune & I’m sorry for your woes I’m going with the (for me) predictable option of a word from a particular sage

  2. My closest sibling asked me to be the godfather of one of her children. Problem was she married a Catholic guy and his family insisted on a Catholic wedding. In the run-up my poor sister went through the conversion process or whatever it’s called, it was pretty grueling, and her MIL, who was a converted Catholic herself, embraced The One True Faith heart and soul and might as well have been a member of the Spanish Inquisition.
    This is prologue. But when it was time to get the baby baptized, then the First Communion, then the Confirmation, I had to pretend that I was a communicant at this really beautiful small church near my old apartment. I used to go there sometimes, kind of recreationally, because the eccentric old priest who used to “mentor” the altar boys (rumors about him abounded) would sometimes hold Tridentine Masses. Those are the pre-Vatican II ones that are conducted in Latin and the priest turns his back to the congregation. 
    When the child was baptized there was a Mass and I was among the most “Catholic” among them. I insisted on saying the prayers in Latin, loud enough for others to hear. The older folks, the grandparents, joined in. I was in my early 30s at the time so didn’t live through the pre-Vatican II era. The poor presiding young priest kind of lost control of the flock. I doubt he knew what we were doing. Seminary education is not what it used to be.  
    Anyway, the bebé was kind of a difficult child and I would schlep up every couple of months or so. All the screaming. I used to hold the bebé and sing this to quiet everything down. My BIL once said, “You are really kind of amazing. You could conduct an entire Latin Mass and you know the one song that [X] seems to like?”
    Here it is, ladies and gentlemen.

        • i read GT every day…have for years…ever since my spamming of kinja thinking everyone was going to lose their posts, i’ve tried to be more of a recluse, but i’ve been “present” during roll call.

          so maybe just call it a general thank you?

          • That’s very kind of you. My world has kind of closed in during 2020. Lots of my New York friends have left, and even if they were still here I couldn’t really see them physically. I never joined Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or TikTok so there are few venues where I can express myself. This is one of the few.

      • I will also add that during the Mass there was kind of a talk show breakout session. I can’t remember at what point this occurred. I think the whole thing took like two hours. The priest came down from the altar. I stood up and the older people followed my lead. That poor priest had to tell everyone to sit down. He went around and asked the godparents where they were from. It’s a very tight-knit community so the godparents were all geographically close to this church except for me. 
        “Manhattan!” I cheerfully replied. There was an audible gasp. But I became the subject of the Homily, which was about godparenting and what that entailed and our duties to help out even if we didn’t live close enough to babysit. “You, Manhattan Cousin Matthew, must remember to call, help out however you can, and guide [X] to lead an exemplary Catholic life.”
        I felt like I was being personally addressed so I interrupted the Homily, which you’re never supposed to do, and said, “Oh yes, Father, of course. I’m very sorry for speaking up. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.” And I beat my breast. I’m going to rot in Hell for this kind of blasphemy but God in His Infinite Wisdom probably has other things on his plate.
        Then, to make things even more blasphemous, I was in Red Sox Nation. There was an older boy being baptized, a toddler at least, and his parents–I don’t know. The toddler came up to me (I was on the end of a pew) so I invited him to sit next to me, this was all very weird, and I whispered in his ear, “Go Yankees.” He decided to scream this at the top of his lungs. I think he was on the spectrum. I thought the Crucifix over the altar was going to burst into flames. But luckily he also had a speech impediment so only his parents and I knew what he said.
        I should attend Catholic Masses more often. They’re usually very quiet and tradition-bound, but every so often someone like me will show up and sow chaos.

        • I will also add, because I’m a little bit of an insomniac, I attended the wedding of one of my nieces. She married a guy whose parents were from the Deep South and they insisted they get married in their church. So off we went, at least a dozen of us.
          The church is Southern Baptist and I got the side-eye at the door because I wasn’t dressed like Billy Graham on a 1950s crusade. It was incredibly hot so I wore a tie and a dress shirt but left the suit jacket in the hotel.
          That was a mistake because once inside the church it was air-conditioned like a meat locker. 
          Anyway, the wedding was fine, if a little more Evangelical than I was used to, and took about two hours, and at some point there was an open invitation to kind of affirm this marriage. This sister, whom I’ve already talked about, pinched my arm and whispered, “Don’t say anything! Let [other sibling, her father] say something if he wants.”
          “I just want to know if there’s going to be alcohol at the reception.”
          “Maybe not, but it’s back at the hotel, so we can find something. This is a little weird isn’t it”
          “I’m just hoping they don’t bring out the snakes for handling and speaking in tongues.” This wedding was held in the run-up to the 2008 presidential campaign and Sarah Palin was mentioned approvingly more than once. During a wedding ceremony.
          At the reception, which had a full bar, that brother, my niece’s father, said, “I’m so glad you came Cousin Matthew. It’s good to get together, isn’t it?”
          “It is nice to get out of New York but maybe not here…?”
          “Brace yourself. [His son] proposed to [his girlfriend] they’re going to get married next summer. At least her parents are going to pay for it.’
          “Wait, isn’t she Mormon? Are we allowed into a service?”
          “No, the way it’s going to work for them is we’ll go to a country club and a family friend of hers will say a few words and then it’s like a big party.”
          “How much of a party will it be if we can only drink Mountain Dew and eat ice cream?”
          “You’ve met the parents, Mattie. They smoke like chimneys and drink like fish. They’re doing Mormonish to inherit their parents’ assets, who are actually Mormons, but you haven’t met them yet.”
          It was actually a really fun wedding because the LDS is global and there was a whole eastern Mediterranean side of the family so there was a lot of group dancing. I was on the dance floor with one of my young nieces, she must have been about nine at the time, and at some point I stepped outside on this capacious oceanside balcony. 
          “Excuse me sir?”
          “Oh, yes, who are you” I’m Cousin Matthew.”
          “I’m X. I saw you dancing with [he described my niece] and I think she’s pretty. Are you her father? Do you think I could talk to her?” He was about 11, this isn’t veering into “To Catch a Predator” territory.
          “Sure, they’re at our table. Do you know anything about marine life? Aquatic biology? That seems to be her obsession right now.”
          “Cousin Matthew, maybe I shouldn’t–”
          “No, my new friend, life is a game and you can only win if you participate. Plus, we’re all now distantly related. Come and meet the girl who you are related to but only through marriage.”
          “At some point read up about the House of Windsor or The Romanovs. The inbreeding.”
          “What’s inbreeding?”
          “Forget I mentioned it.” The Mormons were kind of famous for this, and this young boy came from the LDS side.
          So we sat down and the boy asked my niece to dance and I thought everything was going splendidly.
          Then I got a blistering phone call from my nephew, the one who had gotten married. 
          “Why the fuck did you tell [11-year-old boy] about inbreeding?”
          “I don’t know. He wanted to meet [my niece, his younger cousin] and it kind of came up.”
          “Mattie, it’s internet time and now he’s researching the Russian royal family and hemophilia and wondering hoe closely his parents are related.”
          “Well, are they closely related? Mormon sibling marriages are kind of rare but the cousin connection–”
          “These are my in-laws. I have to live with them for the rest of my life. And you’re telling one of their sons–”
          “I said nothing of the sort. Listen, that family lives in a place I wouldn’t be willing to go to, and neither would you. How are you connected anyway?”
          “The grandmother was good friends with my wife’s dead grandmother and their husbands apparently were paired up to go on a Mission to Lebanon, I think, and–”
          “Yeah. Gotta go.”

    • My Facebook memories punched me in the gut this morning. Two years ago today me and my two best friends from college were spending what we knew would be our last weekend together. L. was in hospice care for metastatic breast cancer. This is her song. 

Leave a Reply