IVP - Strangely Dim - Do-Be-Do-Be-Do

January 4, 2005


by David A. Zimmerman

"So, how was your New Year's Eve? Whadja do?"

That's a relatively safe question for casual acquaintances to ask one another, which means you'll likely be hearing it a lot till the statute of limitations runs out--probably shortly before February 1, when the default question switches to "So, whatcha got planned for Valentine's Day?"

Whatcha do says a lot about you. In my case, I went to a New Year's Eve get together with some friends. They played cards upstairs while I played Spider-Man II on the X-Box downstairs. Shortly before midnight I was utterly destroyed by Rhino, so I went upstairs to play what is essentially the Star Wars version of Yu-Gi-Oh! while my wife cleaned up after me. An hour later we went home. Five hours later I woke up to finish preparing a couple of short talks to introduce two of the three Lord of the Rings films during a New Year's Day marathon.

Spider-Man II, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. What's that say about me? All three of these brands--not to mention playing video games or card-based war games--are the domain of the supergeeky. And I suppose that's a fair brand to label me with; I did, after all, write a book about comic books. I and a group of friends took an online quiz once to determine how geeky we were, and I scored lower than some but higher than many, so I don't have much of a nongeeky leg to stand on.

But from another angle, my actions over the New Year might convince some people that who I am is something less forgivable. I'm not generally known as someone who sits aloof from other people playing video games or watching movies or otherwise indulging in sedentary, passive entertainment. I like to be around people, mixing it up in noncompetitive play. But for forty-eight hours I was aloof, competitive and sedentary. So I suppose one thing my New Year's experience says about me is that I'm easily distorted.

Fair enough, I suppose: I am, after all, human, and to be human is in a sense to be distorted, if you take the biblical account of the Fall to be descriptive of the human condition as I do. Two humans--the only two, for that matter--are made perfect and given a perfect creation but find a way to screw the whole thing up. And being part of the whole thing, they get screwed-up themselves. In the subsequently distorted reality, as Job puts it, "man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward."

Even Job is distorted: it's pronounced "jobe," and it's a guy's name, but on first glance everyone pronounces it "jahb," like whatcha do. Which is almost appropriate for the whole, distorted lot of us, since we tend to think that whatcha do is who you are anyway.

Happy new year, by the way. Whadja do? Post a comment!

Posted by Dave Zimmerman at January 4, 2005 3:22 PM Bookmark and Share


Dave--I enjoyed your writing. You are certainly one of the people I have wanted to contact over the years. I got the latest issue of IWU magazine and there was Kara's picture and the piece about your book.

Please write back! I would love to correspond with you through e-mail.

By the way--you're very cool in my book--Not at all high the the geek meter--especially if you're an LOTR fan!--Mark

Comment by: Mark French at January 10, 2005 11:28 AM

Where was the online test? I'd love to see where I score. :-)

And I found the link to the above mentioned article here (http://www.iwu.edu/~iwunews/Magazine/Winter02/more_love/zimmerman.html). What a super love story! Every Clark needs his Lois, every Peter needs his Mary Jane, every Bruce Wayne needs . . . dang.

Comment by: Macon at January 10, 2005 9:05 PM

I tried to find the quiz again and couldn't. It must have gone up in the euphoric geek renaissance that accompanied the Matrix/Star Wars/Lord of the Rings/Superhero movie blitz at the beginning of the millennium. There are others online but nowhere near as sweeping and clever as the one I saw. Sorry!

However, a key question for such a quiz might be, "When you heard about this quiz, we're you really excited about finding out how you'd score?"

Cheap shot. Sorry!

Comment by: dave at January 14, 2005 8:11 AM

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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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