Longtime Mad Magazine editor Al Feldstein died this week, and I was reminded of my unhappy discovery that my grade-school pal Scott Jankura died a three years ago, at 42, under circumstances I don't know.
Scott introduced me to Mad in fifth grade, slipping a copy to me like it was a marijuana cigarette. It was more powerful than that, because it opened my peepers for the very first time to the ideas of satire and subversion and an underground and something your parents probably didn't know about and wouldn't want you to know about it if they did. Mad seemed intellectually illicit. Which is a big-ass deal for a fifth-grader, or a kid of any age.
I've always been grateful to Scott Jankura—who was an activist on other fronts, including the fight for the right to watch Three's Company, which parents thought was inappropriate and WKRP in Cincinnati, which was on after our bedtimes—for setting this fifth-grader free.