So, when I got an invitation to review **this book**
written by Danny Evans of Dad Gone Mad,
I was all, "Score!! Both my favorite pastimes at once!! Reading, and being a meddlesome snoop!!" And, I might have felt just a wee bit smug and superior and sanctimonious that I was receiving an advance copy of the book before it was available to the rest of
Regardless, the book showed up a few weeks ago, and I devoured it in one sitting. As in, I pretty much sat up one night after my kids went to bed so I could read it uninterrupted, from start to finish. And I laughed .... oh! How I laughed! Despite tackling a difficult subject matter, Danny managed to poke fun at himself the entire time and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I knew my review would wait a few weeks, so I put the book up on my bookshelf, and continued to giggle whenever I thought of certain passages. Like "Coach Danny's T-Ball Rules" in chapter 34 --- seriously, funny stuff.
Then, as the time came closer for me to write my review, I read it again, more slowly, and paid closer attention. Really tried to absorb the experience Danny has so bravely shared of his struggle with "male" depression ... a topic not often discussed as candidly as it is here. I think I might have enjoyed it even more the second time around, because I was really, truly, "listening" .... if that even makes sense.
Regardless! It is a great book, and I highly recommend it to everyone.**
In an effort to help Danny promote it, I sent him a list of stupid questions that I wanted him to answer .... like pouring his blood, sweat and tears into the book wasn't enough, I wanted him to write more for ME personally. If nothing else, it will give you a great perspective on the attitude and personality that he shares with us in the book. One which I, personally, am happy I got to know. After the interview, continue reading for a fab give-away .....
1. You talk about your parent's desire to make you the ultimate Hebrew student and possibly even a rabbi .... I know very little about rabbis except that some of them have those long strands of hair above their ears and they seem to be very wise. One thing I *do* know for sure, however, is that all rabbis have super powers, like Batman and Superman. So had you ever become a rabbi, what would your superpower have been, and why?
I'm fairly certain I would have been able to summon the voice of God through my farts. I would also be able to turn invisible. My greatest trick would be combining these two gifts---farting and disappearing simultaneously, which would cause everyone in the congregation to assume that the blue-haired woman in the front row was the one of ass-blasted. Amen.
2. I also know very little about Jewish customs or food, and the concept of "keeping kosher" confuses me .... like this one time, some friends and I were in a deli, and apparently it was Jewish, because I asked for a ham and cheese sandwich and you would have thought I just spit on the floor or something, the way that women behind the counter looked at me, but then what was even more confusing to me was the waitress came up to our table while my friend was giving her baby a bottle and asked my friend if there was milk in the bottle and my friend (truthfully) said no, it was formula, and apparently that was allowed but I've always wondered what would have happened if it had been milk? Would they have made her put the bottle up? Made the baby go hungry? What if it had been breast-milk in the bottle? Does that count? Anyway, very confusing. So my question to you is, if you were inviting a goy like me to dinner and wanted to serve the best kosher meal ever, what would it be? Because clearly I can't have a ham and cheese sandwich and a glass of milk.
Matzo ball soup.
Corned beef sandwiches.
Breast milk sorbet.
3. What was the coolest, most innovative product you ever advertised at Outside the Box?
We had a start-up, dot-com client whose site was designed to blend golf with the caution-to-the-wind, money's-no-object attitude of the late 80s and early 90s. I don't remember specifically what the site actually sold, but I have a clear recollection that the senior management of this "company" were total marketing cowboys. They wanted to put their logo and URL on EVERYTHING. I remember very specifically a meeting during which we all discussed the merits of putting that logo on what those in the sanitation industry call "urinal burgers." For the uninitiated, those are the little, round, pink antiseptic discs placed in the middle of a urinal. We ultimately decided against the idea, given that the notion of having the company peed-on seemed a little...unbecoming.
4. As evidence by the list on page 120 of your book, you had a pretty dismal athletic career right from the get-go. But imagine if things had been different ... imagine if those Little League dreams of yours had come true, and had played out into high school ball, college ball, and beyond. Let me hear the abbreviated version of your Hall of Fame acceptance speech.
"Today (ay-ay-ay)...I feel (eel-eel-eel)...like the luckiest motherfucker (ucker-ucker-ucker)...on earth (rth-rth-rth). I would like to thank my friend Kristie (istie-istie-istie)...without whose demented brain and sick sense of irony I would just be sitting at home playing with my balls (alls-alls-alls). I would also like to thank my balls (alls-alls-alls)...for letting me play with them all the time (ime-ime-ime)."
And so forth.
5. Speaking of sports, you mention in the book that many Jewish athletes play baseball, but very few play basketball. Why do you think that is? Surely you're not the only tall Jewish man on the planet?
We're a pretty hairy lot of blokes in general and that has a really bad effect on our aerodynamics and athleticism. Only the shaved survive.
6. You talk openly about your habit of using humor as a shield and reflector for unpleasant experiences in your life. Imagine you had taken comedy a step farther and turned it into a career. What would your stage comedian name have been, and what professional comedian would you want to work with?
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage...Mister! Sheky! Goldfarb!
I would have wanted to work with Dad Gone Mad. He fucking rules.
7. On page 180 of your book you claim at the end of 9th grade you were voted "Most Likely To Die Without Ever Having Kissed a Girl That Wasn't His Mom." If you were to go back to your next high school reunion, what do you think you would be voted now?
Most Likely To Offer A Perfect Stranger Hand Relief In Exchange For That Stranger Purchasing A Copy Of His Book, RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH, Which Will Be Released On August 4 And Is Available For Pre-Order On Amazon.com And Other Online Book Retailers.
8. On to the meat of the book, your struggle with depression. In the time since you were first diagnosed, until the release of your book, how do you believe the public opinion and acceptance of this issue has changed? What needs to happen in the future?
Sadly, I don't think a lot has changed. We've certainly seen an increase in the number of antidepressant medications advertised on television and in magazines, but I don't believe that does much to increase awareness of the disease itself. Mental health issues in general, and depression in particular, remain a dirty little secret for millions of Americans. I think an open, honest, direct discussion about depression needs to find its way into parts of the population -- in particular, men -- that haven't yet found the guts or the inclination to talk about it. That's part of what I hope to accomplish with RAGE. Whether we talk about it or not, it's there. And until we shine a light on it, it will remain under the dark cloud of stigma and ignorance.
9. You talk about the men in your life (friends, neighbors, co-workers) who you discovered had also struggled with depression. Have you had any experiences with total strangers coming up to you and relating their own occurrence with depression?
Not face-to-face, but certainly online. Interestingly, I've had quite a few women write to me with admissions that their husbands are depressed and they're at a loss in terms of how to help them. This same scenario played out in my own home, which I detail in the book. To those women, I say that the best thing they can do is to help their husbands get the help of a therapist and/or a psychiatrist as soon as possible. Depression is disorienting, and people don't always understand what's happening to themselves. As the spouse, you can play an active role in moving him (or her) in the direction of recovery.
10. What's your opinion of celebrities using their "celebrity-ness" either FOR the awareness of depression (Brooke Shields comes to mind) or AGAINST (I'm pretty sure we both know what couch-jumping freak I'm referring to ....)
I'm all for anyone who raises the public awareness of depression, and I'm certainly all for any dipshit movie star who tries to make a case AGAINST medical treatment by demonstrating his own dire need for anti-psychotic medication. I would really like to see a male celebrity who has suffered from depression -- and there are MANY -- come out and say, "I was depressed. I got help. So should you." Men need to see a normal guy come out of the shadows, even if some deem that to be uncool or career suicide.
11. Final question: A statement on page 228 of the book, discussing the birth of your daughter, really resonated with me: "Grace under pressure is not close to the top of Danny's Personal Strengths." I realize in context that statement was meant to be funny, but it got me to wondering. You've not only survived unemployment, serious depression, and addiction, but you've managed, with this amazing book, to share that journey in a way that is honest, touching, introspective, educational, and downright hysterical. Having arrived where you are today, what strengths would you say ARE near the top of the list?
I would say that I've become quite adept at pimping my book.
See? See why you should buy this book? Trust me, this is only a hint of the humor and honesty that is between the covers of RAGE.
I was so excited when I first heard about the book that I rushed over to Amazon.com and pre-ordered my own copy. Then Danny asked me to review the book and sent me an advance copy. (You see where this is going, right?) When the release date arrives (August 4th) I will receive my copy from Amazon, and while I freely confess to being a greedy little shrew, I don't neeeeeeeeeeed two copies of the book. So I'd like to offer my paid, Amazon copy to one (randomly drawn, of course) reader/winner who leaves a comment in the comment section here.
Simply leave a comment about your own RAGE, and what it is you're Raging against this summer. For me, it's the humidity that turns my hair into a dandelion, that some moron in Hollywood changed the movie ending to My Sister's Keeper, and the sad fact that it will be a while before I can read Danny's second book, whatever it is, and whenever he decides to write it. I realize my own "rages" are frivolous and lame when compared to the topic of serious depression, but it was the best idea I had this morning (and please no rude comments about how sadly, it might be the best idea I have all day, week, month, etc.)
Let me know what you're Raging against by leaving a comment -- entries closed by 9pm CST Saturday night. I'll draw a winner and announce it here on Sunday ... then once the second copy of my book comes in, I will send the copy to the winner.
In the meantime, head over to
Amazon.com to pre-order your copy of "Rage" ... or look for it in bookstores after August 4th. If that link doesn't work, just go to Amazon and do a search for "Rage Against the Meshugenah" .... it pops up, I promise. Assuming you spell meshugenah correctly, which I did not the first two times I tried. Or just go to Danny's site and follow the prompts from there. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
**OK, here's my teeny-tiny disclaimer. At times, the language in this book can be a little strong. Personally, I find it fucking hilarious and am not at all offended. Assuming you're one of the many who already follows Dad Gone Mad, you probably already know this. But I recommended a different book to someone earlier this year and she felt the language was bad and I was all, "Language? What language? Was there bad language in the book?" so perhaps I am just a little obscenity-obtuse and not the person who should be serving as Potty-Mouth Patrol Officer. So with that in mind ... just a little heads up here.