When I was a kid some family friends gave us their huge collection of MAD books. I absolutely loved them. I would read them over and over and over again till the pages fell out. I loved Spy Versus Spy. We all participated in Sing-A-Long with MAD.
The Rip Off MAD was my favorite because it had a parody of “The Sound of Music” in it called “The Sound of Money.” In it, Captain Von Trapp revealed that he wasn’t a captain in the Austrian navy because Austria is a land-locked country. He just had a thing for sailor suits. I never got tired of that joke.
My father was murdered when I was ten years old and I was standing five feet away from him at the time it happened. I was wearing long purple striped shorts, a lavender ribbed shirt, and I was holding The Rip Off MAD.
The book disappeared for many years and I never really thought about it. Then, just last month as I was helping clear out my mother’s house, I found it. I was so happy. I brought it home and I told my friends “I found the MAD book I was holding in my hand when my father was killed!” Uniformly, everyone looked horrified by my discovery.
Strangely, I found this surprising. I thought about it. Obviously, I can see why they would think this would be a terrible and traumatic discovery. But, I was actually happy to find it. It’s more bittersweet than sad. It is oddly comforting. I had loved it so much. And, it reminds me of how things were before life changed irrevocably in an instant. Also, I find it interesting that 32 years later I spend a lot of time making comics and cartoons, and for the most part, they’re generally funny.
Other People's Thoughts
If anything can make someone smile again after a tragedy it’s MAD Magazine.
— Matt Monday May 1, 2006 #
God, but I loved all our MAD paperbacks. (I still have some. They are so comforting to me. I’m not sure why.)
— FootFace Tuesday May 2, 2006 #
I used to have a bunch of Mad magazines and can completely understand your euphoria at finding yours again. Funny how they, and comics generally, can bring back fond memories of simpler times.
— Maj Tuesday May 2, 2006 #
This is the first Mad book I ever owned.
— chris Tuesday May 2, 2006 #
nice…have got a vast collection of MADs ourselves, not many of the books though
Houseplant Picture Studio
— benbenek Tuesday May 2, 2006 #
The last statement there – about saddest thing other people think you own.
To me that sounds like a very healthy outlook, healthy development.
— bob Tuesday May 2, 2006 #
In this day and age, when too many people are so devoid of feelings, it’s refreshing to see that all of the comments here are sympathetic, and nobody’s acted like an idiot. I guess there’s still some hope for civilization! If that issue of Mad magazine can help this person remember the good feelings he had for his father, then that speaks volumes.
— Jay Sunday May 7, 2006 #
Your story made me almost cry and laugh out loud within the same 15 seconds. It seems like the insanity of it all was lost on everyone that posted comments. Thank you for a strangely touching story with a true twist to it!
— dj Danny S Sunday May 7, 2006 #
I also read mad magazine as a kid. I allways thought of it as sort of grown up humour for kids,and I find myself thinking back about specific issues,and or paradies.thanks for reminding me
— ray Monday May 8, 2006 #
There is an odd comfort in things that tie you to a sadness in your life…a touchstone that puts a face on a moment that changed everything in your life. And a Mad Magazine..well, what more can be said?
— Janie Monday May 8, 2006 #
What me worry ? . As a long time reader ( and owner of many Mad magazines and paper backs) I do have many fond memories of the time spent reading ” adult humor ” how ironic that now Alfred E Newman is president of the United States
— Fred Tuesday May 9, 2006 #
Here is Alfred for you.
— firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday May 13, 2006 #
My sisters had to deal with my mother’s apt. when she got too ill to live alone.They mistakenly threw out 10to15 years worth of my Mad magazines I had stashed in the bedroom dresser. I still wish (25+ years later) that I could see them. You must’ve been thrilled!
— bob Saturday August 19, 2006 #
its so sad ,i aint got no MAD. I feel so bad. Cos one time i had.
— max Saturday September 23, 2006 #
I fell in-love with my cousin’s collection.
— Dean Sunday October 22, 2006 #
enjoyed the comments, my sister threw out my high school and jr high school year books, but the MADs were long gone, since my father considered them to be the worst kind of almost pornographic, snide, cyncial anti-Americanism that was ruining our country; I read the Sherlock Holmes MAD book and laughed for weeks—I think I had found it in some junk somewhere, and of the five or six magazines I read, I adored SpyvsSpy and the “movie version vs the real version” thanks!
— Kelpy Rowan Thursday January 11, 2007 #
I read MAD books and magazines constantly from about 1972-1983. I think they were a brilliant, subversive way to make kids think about the garbage-filled materialistic world. Just think about the the fact that there were no ads in the magazine then (hard to believe now in our made-in-china walmart commercial society. I have 3 children now and they have no such consistent source of sarcasm.
— Andrew R. Miller Saturday May 19, 2007 #
Hey look I edited this one…
Thanks for sharing your story. I find it interesting that people speak of MAD as if it doesn’t exist anymore. On impulse a couple of years ago I picked up a MAD magazine. I was surprised how cutting edge and harsh the sarcasm was on the state of the world and our culture. How many magazines do you know that can make anything a target for humor? Anyway, when I can’t find my daughter we know that she has disappeared to the bathroom to read the latest Sergio Aragones cartoon. I chuckle inside knowing that I’ve created a new generation of MAD readers.
— Ray Gaer Monday May 28, 2007 #
When I was 12, I read a Mad that was in a book format. It was so hilarious to me, not because I was ahead of my time, but because its irony and sarcasm and excellent, excellent cartoons were just so life-like. I was not a child genius, but I definitely had a special sense of humor, and if it hadn’t been for my brother Bill and Mad, I might never have found it.
— Virginia Thursday September 6, 2007 #
this is so good, you should write storys..
argentina Lunes 3 2009
— Sabrina Sunday May 2, 2010 #
I can’t think of anything sad that I own. I love reading your story, though. Beautiful and touching. By the way, you can get all those Mad Magazines on CD-ROM, today, for your computer.
— JohnM Friday October 8, 2010 #
The Saddest Thing I Own is a 2005 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., (aka Ether-Ore) for its Turbulence web site. It is supported by the Jerome Foundation in celebration of the Jerome Hill Centennial and in recognition of the valuable contributions of artists to society.