IVP - Strangely Dim - Ramblings of a Rag Doll

November 12, 2004

Ramblings of a Rag Doll

The powers that be at InterVarsity Press have decided that the best way to promote my book Comic Book Character is to film me in a spandex body suit. Beyond the awkward pragmatics of such a decision--try getting reimbursed for the purchase of bikini briefs, for example--there's a great deal of existential dread that accompanies you as you open your office door and confront your colleagues wearing clothing that shows off every contour of your body. To quote Bill from the film Kill Bill, "This is me at my most masochistic."

I kept a journal of the experience, posted here for your amusement.

* * *

Today is the day. Today I put on a body suit and prance around like a sideshow freak in front of people for whom I have spent years carefully cultivating an image of cool. Today I get to be an IVP rag doll. Today I get to play the fool.

Not everyone knows what playing the fool is like. Some people only ever play it cool, which is certainly what I've striven for all these years. Nevertheless, I have long experience playing the fool. Someone has to do it, generally, and not everyone has the stomach for it. Eventually you get inoculated to the shame of it, and I'm almost there, but today is my final injection. Look out folly, here I come.

I wish I had written about Dominoes or Scrabble or some other geeky fascination that would require less public humiliation. I wish I had written a book about senators or football players or rock musicians or virtually anything but superheroes. None of them dresses funny--at least, not as a rule. I suppose you might argue that football players look a little silly out of context, but you certainly wouldn't argue that to a football player's face. They'd smash your face on the way to shoving you into a locker. Believe me, I've imagined it. It's not a pleasant experience, and you're permanently scarred thereafter, if not physically then emotionally.

I don't want to be typecast; I just want all the glory and a good lot of the money that publishing a book on a staple of pop culture could conceivably entail. I want the fame and the privilege so I can just sign off and demand the privacy that my celebrity has earned me. But no--I had to bypass Beanie Babies and stand-up comedy and instead write about superheroes, which is why today I get to dress up like a pro wrestler.

I never thought I would actually wear one of these outfits. It fits me like a glove fits a stomach. Yick. I look like a giant red tube-sock. Like Daredevil on a diet of donuts. Like I've let myself go.

Meanwhile, Tony the Super Villain gets to wear jet black and look like a ninja from outer space. Evil is definitely sexier than good. But then, I guess we all knew that, didn't we? Nothing satisfies the gluttonous, subhuman part of us like a sexy little evildoer, like a silver-tongued serpent, like a juicy, poisoned apple. We gravitate toward evil, which is why we need something beyond us to deliver us from it. Which is why we long for heroes--and why ultimately there can be only one Hero.

Which is why I wrote the book, and which is why I'm willing to endure the humiliation that attends to adult treatments of issues that are commonly considered juvenile. To quote REM: "Someone has to take the fall--why not me?"

* * *

If you made it through this week's Strangely Dim without following one of the links I set up in a desperate attempt to divert attention from my ignonimous acting debut, congratulations. Click here to view the video. And send it to all your friends--I might as well make the most of my embarrassment.

Let me know what you think by posting a comment. If you're not on my notification list for new Strangely Dim postings but would like to be, e-mail me at dzimmerman@ivpress.com.

My book allegedly arrives at IVP next Friday, just hours after I'll have left town for a week and a half. Sigh.

Posted by Dave Zimmerman at November 12, 2004 7:55 AM Bookmark and Share


Uh... I saw the video and uh... I have to cancel for lunch on Tuesday. I must avert my eyes now.

Naw! Just kidding! I liked the video, if only because I got to see you get violent with a guy dressed like he was going to hunt a deer. Now I know who to talk to if I see a warehouse being vandalized. Tell the guy who edited the video the comic cover pictures were matched well with the dialogue. See ya on Tuesday!

Comment by: Mike Klamecki at November 12, 2004 5:42 PM

That was thoroughly entertaining, and not at all the flab-fest your post had me dreading. You were iconic!

Was this a 2100 Production?

Comment by: alan at November 12, 2004 6:58 PM

Um. . . did you have to ask your mom to dig those Underoos out of storage or have you always kept them safely tucked under the seat of your car "just in case?"

Comment by: Steve at November 12, 2004 11:18 PM

I was wondering the same thing: MMC Production?

And, btw, you're my hero for doing that commercial. Interested in doing the nightly skits in front 500 students at the Blue Ridge Region's Chapter Camp this summer? :-) (You could conveniently also double as the "book table guy.")

Also, I hope that by now you've seen the super-awesome movie, The Incredibles, and understand that not only are superhero capes a fashion faux pas, but they're dangerous as well. I'm just looking out for your fashion reputation as well as your safety here.

Comment by: Macon at November 15, 2004 7:47 AM

Way to go Dave! It's the mild-mannered quiet types who always fool you--and to think you didn't even have to change your name to get into show business. Never thought I'd want to buy a book dedicated to what comic book characters, but then again, life is stranger than fiction.
PS: Love that spandex. It's so much easier to wear than those waist clinchers Super Woman had to put up with.

Comment by: Frances Zimmerman at November 16, 2004 7:54 PM

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Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

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