Potrzebie was first used in a story in Mad 11 (May 1954), where it was the exclamation of a character who spoke only in foreign languages and song lyrics, in “Murder the Story,” a parody illustrated by Jack Davis. It was used again in Bernard Krigstein‘s “From Eternity Back to Here!” in Mad 12 (June 1954) on an airplane advertising banner.

Potrzebie13.jpg (336×296)
Fourth appearance of the word in Jack Davis‘s “Book! Movie!” (Mad 13)’

I know, I know… Mickey! You are being totally obtuse in referencing this non sequitur running gag from the 1950’s in Mad Magazine. But that’s what a non sequitur is, wholly random and totally out of place, and therefore funny. I have been using that word randomly as an interjection of surprise, especially in my classroom since I discovered the word in reprints of old Mad Magazine comedy delights back in the early 1980’s. But I confess, I did not know it was a random Polish word for a system of measurements until I looked it up today.

Potrz12.jpg (329×302)
In Bernard Krigstein‘s “From Eternity Back to Here!” (Mad 12) the word “Potrzebie” made an early Mad appearance, flying over Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, and a caricature of Jacques Tati in Mr. Hulot’s Holiday. The issue is dated June 1954, the same month the 1953 Tati film had a U.S. release.bo

You see it there in the backgrounds of both pictures, don’t you? Why is it there? I dunno.

And whyever did the word pop into my head today while walking in the park… especially since it has been eight years since I retired from teaching, and twenty years since I last actually used the word aloud (or maybe more)? I dunno. Again.

I also confess to having used the word to practice the new thing I learned about how to use my brand new Chromebook laptop, my Christmas present to myself since we don’t officially celebrate Christmas. To copy something you use ctrl + “c”, and to paste something you use ctrl + “v”.

So, here are some random practices;

This was also drawn by the late, great Jack Davis.
FamousMonsters14.jpg (264×350)
Hopefully this is also Jack Davis’s artwork.

So, now I know how to do it. Look out, world!


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