An Open Letter to Norm Sherman

Dear Norm,

(Can I call you Norm? I’m going to anyway.)

It is a cold and dreary world out there, for editors of short fiction publications. The long hours, the strange submissions, the nagging calls from your mother to get a real job. And yet, every week, for the past three years, you’ve been putting out an episode of Drabblecast.

When I first met your podcast I was but a wee undergrad, manning the cash register at a twenty four hour convenience store Monday through Friday from twelve to eight. And when I would walk, from my small apartment I shared with three delinquent roommates and a cat that wasn’t mine, to the battered Kwik Shop, I would listen to podcasts. And one day, I listened to yours.

I laughed. I cried. Once, during the episode about the exploding cats (or perhaps it was the one about the tapeworm), I threw up a bit. Never before had I heard a podcast so wonderfully and skillfully narrated, with such . . . aptly chosen sound effects (but seriously, dude, the splatting cat sound effect thing was cruel.) I still listen to Episode Ninety whenever I’m having a bad day.  You keep normal streams of weirdness in my day, and in the days of thousands of others, ensuring that we don’t slowly go insane from mindless monotony. And you, Norm, and your crew of editors, do this all for free.  For that, you deserve all of our fervent thanks. Well, you deserve more than thanks, more like endless streams of cash and critical acclaim, but hey, I’ve got student loans, whatca gonna do?

I’d like you to imagine for a moment that we are in the midst of an early nineties sports movie targeted at children, and that you are the team of misfits who somehow pulled together to steal the championship from the smug and overconfident previous winners. There’s a hush over the crowd, an unearthly silence, until one man stands, and begins to clap, slowly. Others join in, and the clapping grows faster, louder! People are cheering! You take a lap around the field before embracing the father figure of a coach you initially rebelled against before accepting his wisdom.

Slow claps for you, Norm Sherman. Slow claps for you.

Sincerely,

James

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