James Murray reading the poem Almost Normal from his poetry collection of the same name. Poem below.

Almost Normal

Who knows when it ended,
but I know when it began. That summer my Aunt visited out of the blue with a pack of baseball cards and next thing I knew a whole world of diamonds opened before me.

My first and only team was the Phillies and the only sports hero of my childhood
was Mike Schmidt.
I watched his 500th home run against Pittsburgh, but at some point the ball dropped, as if on a whim, and one day I’d forgotten all about him.

I do remember dad giving his only fatherly advice, never bet on Philadelphia sports. After the Phillies one the game
and dad lost the gamble I’d sit in my room with my plastic Phillies helmet, and in the years before
I dreamt of science fiction sagas
I had fantasies of winning the big game.

In 1986, comic books greatest year, I knew nothing of Watchmen or Alan Moore. While nerds in newsgroups were trying to figure out who killed the Comedian I was finally figuring out how to ride a bike. While fanboys geeked out over
the Dark Knight Returns I was fishing on the lake,
shooting archery, eating smores.

Who knows why it ended, let alone when? All I know is when Tyson was in his heydey, and He-man was the Master of the Universe, I was climbing the hill, I read comics only sometimes, and I didn’t like girls yet.

I was almost normal.

The Almost Normal poetry collection can be purchased here.

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