Very aptly, I am the son of a Mad Man. In the 60s and 70s, my father was with one of the larger ad agencies that are referred to from time to time in the dialogue of Mad Men. He accepted a position to head up the Italian operations of that agency, the purview of which was expanded over time, but we the family were based in Rome while he traveled around. The real reason we were there is probably because the US was afraid to lose Italy and France to the communists during the 70s, so we sent some of our “businessmen” over there to help bolster the interests of democracy. If I were in a pitch meeting and had to do a mash up of references to describe Dad, it would be Mad Men meets The Good Shepherd.
I won’t delve too much into The Good Shepherd aspect because much of it is conjecture, albeit conjecture based on high probability. Dad has expressed a desire in this last chapter of his life to tell me his story, and I would like him to feel free to do so without fearing that it’s going to end up in a blog side by side with some willfully salacious anecdote that involves sodomy, haute couture and Class A drugs. Suffice it to say, there is a reason the period we lived in Rome is referred to as the anni di piombo, “the years of lead,” referring to the flying bullets and the bombings that seemed to be a part of our daily lives. After we left in ’79, things calmed down in Italy considerably. Hopefully that was just a coincidence. Continue reading