“Mad Magazine”, as well as “Bizarro” (The backward Superman), really appealed to my literally tastes as an adolescent. Come to think of it, they both still do even to this day as I continue my existence (within my sixth decade) on terra firma.
The pictured parodies of “Mad” with Alfred E. Neuman gracing it’s front covers with his signature motto of, “What, me worry?” struck a cord within my young brain’s psyche as I learned to decipher life. Ye gods! Lock your doors and hide your female kinfolk! His mischievous grin, (missing one front tooth) along with his lopsided eyes and his over-sized head just seemed to call out to me as a big “hello” and served as a hearty welcome to his world!
The comic book character “Bizarro” who occasionally was portrayed in the Superman series of comics, was also another one of my favorite role models. “Great Caesar’s ghost!” Bizarro was sort of a reverse (but good-hearted) Superman who lived in his parallel and backward Bizarro world. He was not a villain, just misguided, but still, he was a contributor to my “formative” years.
You kind readers may readily think that there was no wonder or mystery involved on why this good-old Gumshoe fit in so well in my future police gypsy career after my tour in the Marine Corps. You would be oh so right; once warped, always warped I suppose.
Whether I was working on the streets as a guy in blue or a plain clothes detective, it seemed surreal to me that I was living and breathing-in a Mad Magazine world. It was definitely populated by one too many Alfred E. Neumans as well as Alfreda E. Neumans.( Equality! Me too!). In my mind’s eye, I became the comic book character “Bizarro” without any super powers though except for maybe one – HUMOR. (Cop survival mechanism for sure me bucko!)
I was nightly tasked with putting all of the cuckoos back into the clock!
NOTE: I truly believe that Walter Mitty and I would have become pen pals or at least met at Starbucks for a brew or two between laughs.
In the real parallel world of street police work the “louche demimondes” never had a clue. What was right and normal to them would be considered wrong and abnormal even to the chimpanzees. Sometimes it was a three-ring circus and I became the ring master as well as the lion tamer. I would have preferred to be one of the many clowns exiting the tiny car though. (How did they do that?) I still ponder?
I learned that some how there really was a “full moon” effect on these shallow gene pool individuals where their “normal” behaviors were way beyond the sign posts of the “Twilight Zone” and stretched beyond “The Outer Limits”. (Google 60’s television for reference youngsters). The late Rod Serling would have had a field day of collecting writing material with great characterizations to boot! Perhaps maybe he did drop in on an ER on a full moon night when he had “writers block”? Now that I think of it, I bet he did! Way before he knocked on death’s door and took the dreaded dirt nap.
I challenge those of you who are not faint of heart to please wait for the next full moon (especially on a Friday night) and I cordially dare you to frequent any ER at any major trauma center. I guarantee you that you will have a fascinating tour of all of the levels of Dante’s Inferno combined with bonus snippets of “The Gong Show”. I double dare you!
Your perspectives will indeed change.
CAUTION: This experience might lead some of you directly to the illicit use of hard drugs or liquor in order to self-medicate from the experience.
I pray not though, however, I just know my church attendance increased after I viewed “The Exorcist”. How about yours? I rest my case, may it please the court.
One of my favorite authors Mark Twain, got it right when he said: “Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to”.
Well this is my story that I am sticking to. Till next time folks, remember to love the ones who love you and to even love the ones who don’t.