Ben Bromley


Scenes from Betsy’s wedding

In my mind’s eye, Betsy always will be my baby sister. As she walked down the aisle Sunday, everyone else saw a beautiful woman. But to me she’ll always be the freckle-faced, red-headed, curly-haired little girl who interrupted our front-yard baseball games by sprinting through the infield naked.
Clearly, she inherited the Bromley shyness gene.
There was no nudity Sunday, as Betsy managed to keep her wedding dress on while walking down the aisle. And there was nothing infantile about my baby sister, who in an instant became a wife and stepmother. We saw a family created before our very eyes. Even for an embittered old skeptic like me, it was a precious sight.


At the old ballgame

There’s nothing like a trip to the old ballgame to make a guy feel, well, old.

I attended a Milwaukee Brewers-Chicago Cubs game recently, and found spending an afternoon with the boys of summer made me feel like an old man. And it wasn’t just because I had to stretch between innings to stave off lower back stiffness.

Nor is it merely because I, at 41, am older than all the players. It’s because I’m 20 years older than some of the players.


At the edge of the nest

Signs of spring abound here in late March. Robins are returning and children are riding bikes around the neighborhood, where Old Man Bromley is using his first bonfire of the year to destroy all evidence of his doomed NCAA tournament bracket. Neighbors eager to let fresh air inside suddenly shut their windows to block out the smell of charred paper and the sound of my exasperated cursing.


No choking this basketball season

Now that another youth basketball season is in the books, I find myself reflecting on a single statistic: Zero strangulations.
It wasn’t always easy, but I’m pleased to report I didn’t throttle a single soul while coaching fifth-grade basketball this winter. Not the referees, who — aside from some Wisconsin Rapids zebras eager to serve home cooking -were capable and dedicated.


Getting a kick out of kangaroos

Strange sights abound in Wisconsin. Football fans bare their skin in subzero cold at Lambeau Field. A guy in a thong and a cape rides his scooter around Madison. And you just might see a kangaroo at McDonald’s.
Last week, a woman was kicked out of a McDonald’s in Beaver Dam after a fellow customer complained. Apparently the customer wasn’t “ ba-da-bum-pa-paaah” lovin’ it.


And now, the fake news

I’ve always said producing a newspaper would be easier if I could just make up the news. And every Christmas, I prove myself right.
Last week I sent out this year’s edition of the Bromley Blab. It’s a family Christmas newsletter written in the style of The Onion. For example, one year a story about my son was headlined, “Drew: Penn State or state pen?”
What’s beautiful about the Blab is that I get to make everything up. Sure, all the news stories are based on fact, but as reporter/editor/publisher/circulation manager, I’m allowed to take liberties. This is a fun change from my day job, which frowns on the fabrication of quotes by made-up sources.


Prepare for chocolate panic

This is a topic I hesitate to broach, because we all know how nutso American consumers can get, especially at holiday time.
The last thing I want to do is incite looting, hoarding or the kind of violence that broke out over Tickle Me Elmo. I believe in peace on Earth and goodwill toward men, unless you're standing between me and the last Xbox One, in which case you're about to be pistol-whipped with the nearest pricing gun.


Halloween's disappearance is scary

I used to rant when stores broke out their Christmas merchandise the day after Halloween. Now those seem like the good old days.
As my nine loyal readers know, I don't think the Christmas season should start until the day after Thanksgiving. As much as I love yuletide cheer, I don't think we need more than a month to celebrate - and shop for — Christmas. That's three weeks and six days more than any man needs.


This play wasn't that baaaaaad

I don't know what it says about me that watching a dream come true involved me donning a sheep costume and getting mounted. I'll leave that to mental health professionals. But I will say that seeing characters I created come to life before my eyes, to the delight of audiences, was a thrill.


Somehow, ’70s kids survived

Looking back, it’s a miracle we children of the 1970s survived the decade.
Our playgrounds were built on blacktop. No wood chips. No rubber base of recycled shoes and tires. If you fell from the jungle gym, you bled. Oh, and those metal slides so hot we could’ve fried bacon on them? We blissfully slid down them in Garanimals shorts, losing only a few patches of skin in the process.


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