Brousseau's Balderdash #2: The Hand Of God

In Which We Learn God Is Left Handed

By Matt Brousseau

Sport. The great equalizer. The opiate of the mass of the massive masses. The physical activity causing millions of people to simultaneously sit and stare and eat and burp and have a heart attack.

Soccer. The sport known as football by the majority of the anatomically correct world (mon dieu, France). America already has a football and it’s named football. We call it this because the unspoken understanding is that punters and field goal kickers are the most important players.1

But soccer! But non-American football!2 An English invention, as much as “kick a bloated bladder” is an invention. But no! England was responsible for the spread of a consistent structure of rules. This is their most important export since tea and resistance to the crown.

It’s resistance to the crown that brings us to our current balderdash.

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The Money Will Come

  • You keep saying it’s a matter of time. But it’s not! It’s a matter of money.

  • The money will come. Just be patient.

Again and again he said it.

  • The money will come.

He rocked back and forth.

  • The money will come.

By now he figured he would believe it. He looked at the ground, eyes drifting to a timepiece. The sundial’s measurement was dampened in the dusk. He looked up to his brother. Wild eyes stared back. He blinked. His brother softened for second, eyes pleading before storming up the steps and into the house. The wreath fell from the hook as the door slammed.

He gazed up, along the narrow driveway, stones and scattered leaves, yellow, red, orange pockmarking gray gravel surrounded by half empty trees. The setting sun echoing the leaves, yellow, red, orange above.

The chair creaked as he rose. He sighed as he bent down and flipped the wreath over. On the back, paint on wood, “Christmas ’82.” He eased it onto the hook, but thistles still fell. They always did.

  • Soon you won’t be a wreath.

His brother opened the door, unseating the wreath, now airborne, now bouncing off the porch, now with fewer thistles. By the time he looked up, his brother was down the steps and at the car. They looked at each other one more time, his brother’s eyes red and nose running.

He had wondered about this moment. Every time he thought of a new thing to say, a new idiom, a new idea, a new goodbye, but in this moment there was nothing left. He smiled. It was the one thing he hadn’t thought of. His brother smiled back, grimaced, and shook his head.

The car came to life and rolled down the narrow driveway, faded maroon rolling over the yellow, red, orange, gray. Dust kicked up. It followed the car, rising above the half empty trees. It blanketed the sky and then frayed into a million threads.

In a breath a new dust rose in the distance.

He reset the wreath. Some thistles fell. The chair creaked as he sat. The dust approached.

  • The money will come.

Long Live The Dead Hotel

So It’s Come To This:

An Obituary Of The HoHo (1160 N Vermont Ave)

by Matt Brousseau

    The Hollywood Hotel is dead, I’m told. Well, standup is dead there. Well, I mean there’s no more standup there. It’s a shame. It was hardly perfect, sure, except for PUI’s when it became a great goddam mess of messed up comics. (Imagine being on mollie in a room full of friends. I don’t have to imagine. You can). Yes, often the room was sparse and you’d eat some shit. Yes, voices at the bar often overshadowed the comic. But three to four nights a week you could do five to seven minutes and hang out with some friends. And, somehow, probably because we spend of a lot of time thinking about ourselves, we’ve all had our own, singular, individual experience there even though we all did same activities. It was a great place to do comedy and drugs and make friends. Odds of the last two improved every time you did the first.

I could walk there. It was my local comedy bar. To others, perhaps, it was a place of death. But that’s fitting. The old Hotel was originally built as a mirage. All that remains is the name, “The Hollywood Hotel,” and still it tricks far off travellers. We know now it’s clearly not THE Hollywood Hotel, but more of A Hotel Adjacent To Transit To Hollywood. At its birth, however, this mattered little.

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Dispatches From Hello

Sometimes when I lay in bed I'll wonder what life would be like if we didn't kill all those pigeons. Then I'll remember that, eventually, something else would have killed all those pigeons. And that makes me smile. Blame humans. We took one for the team. Well, a lot of ones. But for the team. Well, our team. But a team. Team.


After Eddie died someone told me that people die twice: first when they physically die and then again when we forget them or something. I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention. I was too busy trying to remember where we left Eddie’s corpse.


I heard that most stars are visible because they’re exploding. That was pretty comforting because when our sun explodes and kills us all, at least some being in another galaxy that will be able to look up and say, “Neat,” or use it to guide their ship to conquer some alien land. I think we all could appreciate that.


Marge never understood when I told her a stitch in time saves nine. Then again, Marge never had any arms so a lot of things were lost on her, like baseball and sign language.

Writing Angry

by Matt Brousseau

      Eventually I decided to no longer write with anger. It used to happen a lot. I'd sit down, imagine someone knocking over one of my potted plants, and I'd start punching a wall. I'd punch in Morse code and my stenographer, Maury, would stenographize. It was a strenuous process. I'd punch. He'd write. I'd bleed. He'd call the hospital.

Later we put out an ad for a junior biographer. At first he documented our lives, but once he figured out the odd weeks he just assumed the evens. It wasn't that colorful, but what would you expect? For fun we’d dress up as WASPs and see who could sweat through their linens first.

We paid for the biographer to take an EMT course. It helped with the bandages. And every couple days he'd work a car crash. It's a lot easier to write a story with good inspiration. I can't remember how many car crashes I've re-enacted with my fists. I guess I could count the essays, but some of those are probably doubles. And I know at least one was inspired by a pigeon I hit with my bike.

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Ditty Word Ditty

by Matt Brousseau

“I love you,” she says. “Let me count the ways..."

“Seven,” I laugh.

She gives me her dirtiest look, the one that poisoned the fish. Or maybe it just broke the filter. Either way, super dirty.

I ask, “Six?” She moves to high-five my face.

I duck and pick up our cat. He’s been coughing all day. Our eyes meet. He gives me a look that says, “Meow.”

Shuffling around the carpet I find my shoes. The cat’s hair stands on end. I open the bedroom door and rush out, both of us receiving a static shock from the doorknob. The cat meows and jumps to the floor, coughing four times, then following my electric wake.

I exit through a front door, forgetting to open the screen door. An important lesson about screens is learned. Blood rushes to fill the newly formed gaps in my skin.

Three seconds later she arrives with a two-handed shove. My body exits the house without opening the door. My mind, confused, stays inside to wait it out.

“Are we out of cereal?” It asks.

My feet answer by running to the car, the soft grass unnoticed until my toes hit the gravel driveway. Blood teams with rock dust to fill the newly formed cracks in my feet.

I open the driver-side door with my hand and open my head with the driver-side door frame. My mind returns as blood leaves my temple. “We’re out of cereal,” it says.

The cat jumps into the passenger side window. The soft thud reminds me to roll the windows down. They squeak as they fall. The cat meows as he lands, this time inside the car, this time with a look that says, “Meow?” I win our staring contest when he coughs.

My shopping list lays on my dash. I look at it as I turn the key in the ignition. “Buy Gas.” The engine starts. Then it purrs. Then it coughs and dies. I look at the cat. He smiles. Then he coughs.

I move to exit the car as she arrives. “And one more thing,” she says, her fist aimed at my head. I turn and my chin cushions the blow.

Abandoning the car, my face cushions the gravel driveway for my skull.

Somewhere a cat coughs.

My mind mumbles, "Blastoff," and exits.

Brousseau's Balderdash #1: The Babe Calls His Shot

"I tried to capture the spirit of the thing." - Dickie Dunn, Charlestown Gazette

It’s that time again for the spring training of professional baseball players in these United States. And I’d like to honor such a rare occasion with a baseball history lesson.

A Charlie Root Whodunit

by Matt Brousseau

George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. called many shots in his life - most prolifically after games, at some speakeasy where he nightly force fed himself a lifetime’s worth of animal anus (“hot dogs”), and threw down enough alcohol to blind a small midwestern high school before romping off with as many women as could fit on or around his penis. There are no descriptions of Ruth’s penis, so I’ll take a thesaurus and presume it was vaingloriously garrulous and unstoppably poisonous.

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Michael Herr, "Dispatches," A World Away

Michael Herr died recently (June 23, 2016). He was a war correspondent in Vietnam, published four books, wrote the narration for Apocalypse Now, and co-wrote Full Metal Jacket. Those two movies featuring some human devastation because Herr knew human devastation. His book, “Dispatches,” follows his reporting during the Vietnam war. I first read it in my early twenties and it hung in me, heavy and twisted. It was a reality I could only glimpse at, like when I finished "Catch 22" and remembered the first third is funny, but it has to be, otherwise all that’s left is a grinding, inevitable tragedy of boys turning into men and then into corpses and there I was, whining about being a janitor at a super market.

(HSThompson on the book: “We have all spent 10 years trying to explain what happened to our heads and our lives in the decade we finally survived – but Michael Herr’s Dispatches puts all the rest of us in the shade.”)

Thankfully, my copy of “Dispatches” wasn’t borrowed, so I could mark the margins. I flipped through it last weekend and reread the sections that stuck with me. I’ve copied some of those here:

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An Undisciplined Rant

A word puke by Matt Brousseau

I love simulators. Not androids or fleshlights or divers, but video games posing as “life” simulators; games like Sim City, Football Manager, and The Sims. There’s a strong sense of god-like control which really gets my endorphins revving. (That line can also be used when picking up women: “Damn girl, you got my endorphins blowing up.... Mmmmmhmmmm” [Then lick lips and nod head]. … Yes, I’m single. Why do you ask?). And seeing how, according that book people always forget at hotels, we’re made in God’s image I find it easy to believe he’s a drug addled control freak with a penchant for overreacting to boredom. Sometimes you build a great city and everything is going well. Then sometimes you fucking obliterate it with a “natural” disaster just to see what happens.

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Becoming Angelino

(September 2014)

A transplant's guide to being your douchey best out West.

By Matt Brousseau

On a humid Friday in August 2013, at my Beuna Park, Chicago residence I stacked all my belongings into a rented Ford Focus. Nearly 36 hours later I arrived in Los Angeles sweaty, tired, and malnourished. Those traits started before my trip began, but nonetheless continued throughout. Upon my arrival, and in the spirit of Manifest Destiny, I smoked weed and stared out at the Pacific Ocean’s infinite horizon. A catharsis swept over me along with a mixture of salt, water, small percentages of urine, and perhaps lingering isotopes from Fukashima. (It should be noted that, also in the spirit of Manifest Destiny, I killed as many indigenous species as possible during my westward expansion. (Suck it, Earth).

Since my move I’ve been besieged with complaints about the New England or Chicago weather to which I meekly responded *cough* *cough* 75 and sunny today. Then, inevitably, messages arrived asking when would be a good time to visit me.

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