Monday, November 17, 2008

What, Me Worry?

Back story: In the planning stages of my semester in London reunion this year, the group was trying to find John R., one of the guys from the group. It had been a long time since anyone was in touch with him and all our leads were turning into dead ends. (And...he had lived all over the place in the past 20 years -- DC, Chicago, California...) After extensive and exhaustive Internet searches that turned up nothing, another friend helpfully noted that he was on Facebook. (I swear, he was NOT on Facebook when I first looked.) Anyway...we found him and he came to the reunion (he's living in the DC area again). Since the reunion, I had him and another friend from that group to our house for cocktails. This was a couple of weeks ago.

Current story: Yesterday, Avery was busy pulling every single book off the bookshelf in our office. She came across a MAD book with Alfred E. Neumann on the cover (and immediately screamed, "Alfred E. Neumann"...why she knows that is a long story). That's not the weird part. The weird part is that right on the cover of the book, it said, "John R. 460-4855" in my handwriting. Now, I had obviously written that at some point when I was short on paper...but when? and why? and how random that I found this a week after he was in my house for the first time in 20 years? I e-mailed him about this and he did confirm that was an old phone number of his.

Life is strange. (And not just because a MAD book I purchased when I was about eight years old has made it through about 15 moves with me.)

10 comments:

Ri said...

Now, see...none of that sounds odd to me at all. But then, I have a two year old who quotes "The Godfather"...

I still have all my MAD books, including "A MAD Look at the Movies". A crime that one didn't win the Caldecott award for Children's Literature. Dick DeBartolo got robbed.

Kathleen said...

Thank you for understanding. I read that book (and many other MAD books and Cracked magazines) cover to cover about a thousand times.

I love that Liam quotes the Godfather.

Kathleen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dilettard07 said...

I can't believe you defaced a Mad Magazine. Don't you know those are collectible? There goes the resale value.

When I was young my father was a Finast grocery store manager for a while. My brother and I spent a lot of time in that store, usually parked in front of the magazine rack, reading Mad. Later we were forced to buy them once my father moved on.

But a lot of stuff from Mad persists in my lexicon, and I have a hard time picking it out because it is so ingrained in me. Much is frankly meaningful today: how little times have changed! Who can forget the Mad pick-your-own lyrics to "America the Beautiful?" "For unemployment miseries from Oregaon to Maine," or "We'll do our thing at Burger King while saving energy!" Why are our woes of the late 1970s still woes today?

Or, in the "Dorks of Haphazard" the boys drive to New Jersey because gas is 3 cents a gallon cheaper.

And speaking of the Mad sendup of the movies, does anyone recall "201 Minutes of a Space Idiocy?" My brother and I still speak of a "cup of pie and a piece of coffee" for dessert.

Kathleen said...

Dilettard -- I did not know (but should have figured) that you were a MAD aficionado. Did you like the Spy vs. Spy guys? When I worked at a network security company, we licensed these from Warner Brothers to do a huge promotion (the whole "white hats" vs. "black hats" thing was totally relevant to network security vs. hackers). I still have some action figures that we used as a promotional giveaway if you're interested...

Dilettard07 said...

I enjoyed Spy vs. Spy, as it was in the same vein as Wile E. Coyote, but both sides briefly facing frustration or victorious escape.

But really what spoke to me was the biting social and political commentary. The reinforcement of my early cynicism toward hippies (by about age 5 I knew them to be full of shit) and corporate fatcats.

But even the nonsensical fun made an impression. One thing I forgot to mention earlier was the game "Three Cornered Pitney" that they devised. It involved asphalt and playing "Melancholy Baby" on a terrier-skull xylophone, among other things. One time while visiting Narnie, Kevin and I discussed the possibility of commencing a game of Three Cornered Pitney when, if I recall correctly, there were chores to be done. A shrill rebuke issued forth from my grandmother, who was in another room (this was before her hearing was shot): "There'll be no Pitney playing!!"

This is not to be confused with the game my father came up with one day while raking leaves in Narnie's back yard: Fecal Croquet.

Kathleen said...

Dear Hippie-Hater -- One of my true regrets is that I never had a chance to meet Narnie. (Or play Pitney with her, for that matter.)

Fecal croquet should be a dilettante activity.

Dilettard07 said...

Well you better find a bevy of Siamese cats to "seed" the field for an official game. Although, according to my father's history of the game, a match was played once with Chihuahuas imported in a pinch. This game was also the source of the phrase "sticky wicket."

I'd have to ask him again about the official rules.

dilettante07 said...

Maybe we can have dilettard's dad come down and give us a fecal croquet lesson--I bet Amy could host it if we gave her about a week's notice to put Archie and Eleanor to work.

And I was worried about what we were going to do for December!

KevStar said...

Or, in the "Dorks of Haphazard" the boys drive to New Jersey because gas is 3 cents a gallon cheaper.

>>I hate to wee-wee in your punchbowl, but I do believe the "Dorks of Haphazard" was cartooned in "Cracked."