Recently, MAD Magazine announced it was ceasing the publication of new material; essentially going out of business. This was sad news to me. Like many of my fellow baby boomers, I fondly remember reading Mad magazine during my adolescence and after. I’m sure that this fact and the comic books I also read, bothered my parents, who are now both deceased. But I turned out just fine as an adult despite this.
What did MAD magazine teach me about life? That the adult world sometimes doesn’t make sense and is not always logical or easily understandable. Sometimes what we are told by so-called “reputable sources” or “experts” is just plain wrong and false.
I learned to not believe everything you hear and read and to not follow the crowd but do ask questions. Always do your own research, seek out and understand both sides of any important issue and to form your own opinion.
It helps to have a good sense of humor and there are many things in life that are funny, such as MAD Magazine. And humor takes many forms. Sarcasm, satire, parody and irony are just some of the ways the magazine employed to make us laugh and think. There is a time to be serious, but also a time that we can enjoy the humor in life.
Curiously so, MAD’s fictional front man Alfred E. Neuman has a remarkable resemblance to Pete Buttigig, the mayor of my hometown South Bend, Indiana, but with better teeth and more symmetrical facial features. Just the thought of that makes me smile.
Neuman’s motto was “What, me worry?”
Worry not is a great philosophy of life and discovering it early on was foundational in my knowledge and understanding of the concept of mindfulness - to be in and appreciative of the present moment and circumstances.
I’ve learned to not worry about things in life that are unimportant in the overall scheme of things (and there are many of these). I’ve learned to be concerned about, but not worry about the things that are important and deserve my attention, and most importantly, to try to discern the difference.
It is good to have a childlike sense of wonder and awe about the world around us. We all need a spirit of curiosity about all of it and to seek, where possible, to understand it. And in understanding, it’s good to have peace, joy and satisfaction about it all.
So, for 67 consecutive years MAD Magazine has been teaching us to laugh at and find the humor in life and in ourselves; and for that I am glad, not mad.