Thursday, May 29, 2014
One summer on our annual pilgrimage to the beach, I stretched out in the way-back of the family Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser. I had a Walkman on and a couple of books to get me through the trip. I don't think we were even out of the neighborhood when Mom tossed the latest issue of Mad back to me. I remember the moment very clearly. Man, I was stoked!
I read through the issue several times through on that trip. Even though some of the jokes and humor were over my head at the time, I was hooked on the satire, the irreverence and the healthy disrespect of authority. After that first issue, I became a loyal reader buying and keeping every issue for years and years to come.
The summer after I graduated high school I was cleaning things out of my room in preparation to move into a place of my own. At some point in my teenage years, the humor rag became less important than gas money and entertaining girls and I had stopped reading. When I came to my stack of back issues I skimmed a few covers before tossing them all into a garbage bag. Man, to have those issues back now...
In college I got my hands on 7 CDs containing every issue from '52 to '98. This covered my time as a loyal reader and more. I had checked in on the magazine a few times here and there since we parted ways. In 2001, disappointingly they started to run real advertising previously only running parody ads. I felt that this cheapened things a bit and was a slap in the face from one of my biggest influences to question authority and rebel against the establishment.
I guess it is true what they say, nothing is sacred. All the same, last week I was feeling nostalgic and looked into the CDs and found that first issue, one of several covers featuring Hulk Hogan. I started to read it and then figured I shouldn't shortchange myself of the real experience so I got on ebay and ordered myself an original. It came earlier this week.
Its funny, the things you can remember. There is a familiar off-white that the pages always had and the distinct smell still lingered. I remembered the articles and even specifics such as the gag in the Spy vs Sky cartoon and the fold-in on the inner back cover. I could recall the answer without having to fold it.
As we get older, and experience more we lose the joy that can come with firsts. Nothing could replicate how I felt the first time I read Mad but having this was an amazing nostalgic throwback to a time in my life that was easier...simpler. Even though I paid more than double the $1.35 cover price, the feeling I get thumbing through this issue is something you just can't put a price on.