March: the month of madness

April 11, 2018 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: journalism.

Glad you survived March, dear reader. It’s sometimes a dangerous place to be.

There is this thing in America known as March Madness. To the untutored among you, that refers to the three-week long national collegiate basketball tournament that has the country mesmerized until the Monday evening (usually the first Monday of April) when the national championship games takes place, and in a few days, you’ve forgotten completely what university team won. (This year it was Villanova.) For us baseball fans, March madness is merely the final distraction that comes before Opening Day (the first day of the baseball season, which, this year, was also in March.

Then there’s Mad as a March hare. According to the Online Etymological Dictionary:

Phrase mad as a March hare is attested from 1520s, via notion of breeding season; mad as a hatter is from 1829 as “demented,” 1837 as “enraged,” according to a modern theory supposedly from erratic behavior caused by prolonged exposure to poison mercuric nitrate, used in making felt hats. For mad as a wet hen see hen. Mad money is attested from 1922; mad scientist is from 1891. Mad Libs, the word game (based on the idea in consequences, etc.), was first published in 1958.

Source: mad | Origin and meaning of mad by Online Etymology Dictionary

Then there’s the madness of March. We go down that rabbit hole again.

Ides of March is a fright because it is associated with the murder of Julius Caesar.

And March winds are always scary.

But all of this has nothing to do with Mad Men, the television series of a few years back about advertising executives in the 1950s and 1960s. The Mad there comes from Madison Avenue, the street in Manhattan where advertising agencies are traditionally located.

In any event, March is past, and April with its foolishness, its showers, and its Paris is here, thank goodness.

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