image of tired man
image of tired man

After Casey Goodson was murdered, but before Ma’Khia Bryant was shot down, I went to an event space to rehearse with my improv troupe.

We are a bunch of still-kind-of-young professionals who enjoy playing onstage together, and over the past couple of years we have built a nice following and sold out 15 consecutive monthly shows.

It’s also an all-Black improv troupe. That shouldn’t matter, but it does. It always does.

To make a long story short because I don’t know if I want to relive too much of it, the event space’s alarm system was tripped by the manager…


Man in lotus pose on a beach
Man in lotus pose on a beach

In the fall of 2002, I was 220 pounds, starting a new career as a performer, freshly dumped by my upwardly mobile girlfriend, and kinda homeless. It was a confusing, disappointing time in which I was either regretful or worried at any given moment.

Oh, and angry. Constantly angry. So very, very angry. Life after college was not going as well as the commercials and most sitcoms told me it would. There were no cool jobs with quirky bosses available, and apparently all the dope apartments with open floor plans and sick views of vibrant neighborhoods were taken. Well, my…


We spend a lifetime forgiving racism, but we never forget

child on swing set
child on swing set
Credit: Mel Karlberg

One glorious elementary school morning, I was playing with my friends Shannon and Shawn by the big-kid swing sets. It was a sunny day, and cold. I can’t remember if it was that November cold that feels like the beginning of more cold, or the March cold that whispers of the warmth that is coming with the new spring. We were just happy that it wasn’t some boring Indoor Recess day. That’s all that mattered to us. Because we were kids.

Shannon had a long, blond ponytail that I could pull or twist anytime I wanted to, she said. Shawn…


Sometimes, we fail our kids by helping them succeed.

image of handmade children’s books
image of handmade children’s books
image source

In elementary school, I was in a special program for gifted kids — a group of adorable little nerds who were much more inclined to read the encyclopedia than play street football after class. We met every other week with an advisor to work on fun projects that would challenge us outside of the normal, boring curriculum (a word I knew how to spell at age eight, hence my presence in this little cabal). The final project of school year was my favorite. Each student was to write and illustrate their own original story, and then bind it all together…


Do you want to make a great pie crust. I used a period there because this really isn’t a question. Of course you do. So do these things I’m telling you to do here:

Get all these things:

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons of chilled butter (cut into small pieces)

6 tablespoons of chilled Crisco (yes, Crisco. yes, the brand matters.)

Pour that flour into a big ass bowl. Put the sugar and salt in next. mix that up with a whisk.

Add 3 tablespoons of butter, and 3 tablespoons of Crisco .

Use…


The world is telling us something right now.

It’s an ugly, terrifying truth that has become prevalent faster than, I think, we have come to realize it as a society. Oh, we’ve had harbingers of this truth before, but just like Cassandra of Troy, their cries of danger fell on decidedly deaf ears.

Facts. Don’t. Matter.

Why? Because facts don’t give a damn about you. They don’t care if you like them, love them, or put them in your MySpace Top 6 (that’s still a thing, right?). …


My Grandmother was meditating before it was cool.

I spent a lot of my childhood at my Grandmother’s house. It was as fun as any Grandmother’s place — there were trees to climb, neighbor kids to battle in street football, and sidewalks for optimal Big Wheel riding with my cousins.

And of course, there were rules. Many of them were created to protect furniture and family heirlooms from the destructive power of small, uncoordinated children who cared nothing for front room furniture and the “good plates” in the china cabinet. Those kinds of rules were eased as we got older and more respectful of the fact that not…


Because without context, this hurts — so think about the impact of your words

Photo: FG Trade/Getty Images

When I was 16 years old, I worked at a video store. Instead of cutting lawns or flipping burgers like many kids my age, I wore a snazzy polo and stood behind a big counter. Four days a week, I watched movies and convinced people to buy a family plan membership and the big-ass bag of Twizzlers next to the register. It remains the sweetest gig of my working life.

During one Sunday morning shift, a couple I hadn’t seen before walked in. Getting new members to sign up was my favorite part of the job, so I quickly welcomed…


I deal with my father’s death one random day at a time.

One early June afternoon, I got a call from my big sister. She told me that she had something to tell me, her voice growing shakier with each word. She took a breath and told me that my father was dead.

The memory of that day just drifted in last Wednesday, rolling over my thoughts about what to make for dinner that night and how to respond to some work emails. It wasn’t even the anniversary of his death, or his birthday — nothing like that. …

Brandon Anderson

Essayist, sketch comedian and storyteller in Columbus, Ohio

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