Channel Your Inner Child to Stay Sane in a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Frustrated by the dire news that dominates our newsfeeds lately, I thought at one point, “our world has run amok.”
That led to a fond memory of a 1964 school trip to San Francisco for a showing of the zany It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, by film director/producer Stanley Kramer.
The title was considered facetious … back when violence and criminality could still be lampooned and viewed as predominantly absurd. My yes … it’s difficult to be innocent and unaware today. We’ve sure mucked up the world …
NAIF (nä ēfʹ) adj. / n. – a naïve person. [WW #115]
We used to think a certain air of naivety provided refreshing charm. Today, those who wish to harm us, make the naif features of our psyche dangerous to our health. How sad that we are vulnerable because we want to enjoy the simplicity in life.
In the mid-Sixties, Kramer—through shrewd business acumen, or with a naif bravado— gathered a huge ensemble cast of the early decade’s most popular actors: Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Edie Adams, Phil Silvers, Mickey Rooney, Sid Caesar, and Jonathan Winters. That doesn’t count the supporting cast and cameos that included Jimmy Durante and Peter Falk.
The movie reflected an innocence we thought had been recaptured in the staid Stepford-style lives of the 1950s—mop-up decade following the wake-up call of World War II. The ‘60s began, nurturing our inner naif through a plethora of funny, inane, soul-soothing films.
Mad debuted November 7, 1963—just weeks before a new madness took over the world—the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. We sorely needed its comic relief.
Events of the 1960s would irrevocably change us, our carefree spirit somewhat dampened and wary. But we had no idea that the next century would see naifs become practically extinct.
To watch It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World today, is a breath of fresh air. Maybe a little naif in each of us isn’t so bad … in fact, those of us who retain our inner childlike nature (at least to a small, protective degree), may find these naif qualities are what keeps us sane.
Word Challenge: NAIF. Sanity in an insane world. Consider how you retain your inner child and inclusive sanity as you fit naif into your simple, abstract writings.
Write first for yourself … only then can you write for others. (L.Rochelle)
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