As for Murray, he had lost his and it wasn't until six months later that he got it back. Unable to see the keys on a typewriter, he began to use a tape recorder. Writing a column with only the sound of your voice is something like assembling a 1932 Ford roadster wearing boxing gloves. "It wasn't very good," Murray says. "But to me, it was a hell of an achievement."
With no chance to repair the left eye, doctors in December 1979 decided to remove the cataract from his right. That worked until the retina detached from it, too. Retinas 2, Murray 0. The right retina was finally repaired on Jan. 18, 1982, and Murray's vision, albeit tunneled, one-dimensional and precarious, came back.
Who knew that there would be times when he wished it hadn't?
To my three sons, Ted, Tony, and Ricky, who have never read my columns and doubtless won't read this book, and my daughter, Pammy, who won't, either. To their mother, Gerry, who not only read, but, bless her, laughed at all the jokes.
The Best of Jim Murray
Rearing teenagers in the late '60s and early '70s was a bitch, though the Murrays seemed to have done O.K. Tony pitched for Cal and, at one time, had scouts bird-dogging his games. Ted and Pam were good kids, and Ricky, the baby, was a delight. "He could play the piano like an angel," Murray says.
His father got him a job in the nuts-and-bolts end of the Times, and everything seemed fine. Many were the days Ricky would call his dad and laugh it up about that day's column.
"I don't know what happened," Murray says. "Dedication is hard on the marriage, hard on the family life. Maybe it was the column. Maybe it was the Malibu beach scene. Maybe it was all of it."
In the early evening of June 6, 1982, Jim and Gerry came home to find a business card sticking out of the door. It was from the county coroner.
CALL RE: CASE NO. 82-7193.