I was sitting at my desk at work today eating my lunch and reading the latest issue of Astonishing X-Men when I took a moment to look up at the four Kevin Smith Inaction Figures that adorn part of my L-shaped cubicle.
Let me back up.
I’m a geek who collects action (and in this case, Inaction) figures, among other items that are commonplace as part of the pantheon of collectible geek vices. My cubicle at work looks more like it belongs in the back office of a Kay Bee toys (remember them?) then where it currently resides in the building of my current employer. One series of figures that I enjoyed collecting with regularity were those put out by View Askew – the “Inaction Figures” based on Kevin Smith’s Askewniverse film series. Four of those figures happen to be of Kevin himself in four distinct variants, i.e. – it’s the same damn figure but painted differently four different times.
Before you start looking at me funny (too late), let me back up some more.
I used to be a huge Kevin Smith fan. Ever since a friend of mine showed me Mallrats on VHS back in 1996, I found myself rather enjoying Mr. Smith’s many exploits over the years. I completely bought into his self-deprecating schtick, found him to be a charming writer and director who loves dick and fart jokes. I like dick and fart jokes, so what better match could the two of us be?
I continued to enjoy the films and early merch that Kevin and View Askew was putting out for the next four years. Then, in the spring of 2000, I took it to the (probably unhealthy) next level. After someone mentioned how much I looked like Silent Bob, I decided to play that up for what it was worth – giving myself an excuse to eat and gain weight (which I was already doing anyway), buying all the accoutrements I could to get the attire as screen-accurate as possible, and then going to conventions in full get-up where folks would either think I was really him or marvel at the resemblance and think it was awesome.
Sadly, I’ve been riding that train for about ten years.
I had been toying with the idea for the past couple of years to give it up, especially since I was starting to become more recognized for my writing. I really wanted to be known for my own accomplishments and not simply “that guy who looks like Silent Bob”. But, it was tough. The attention you get from such an endeavor is quite a rush. It was certainly still more abundant than the recognition I was getting for my web comic. Or my Spwug articles. Or lately – my CHUD Blog.
But something happened over this past year and a half. A paradigm shift started to occur. All these elements started to fall into place that by themselves may have looked like nothing of significance. But together – they were a sure sign of the direction I needed to go with myself. Kevin Smith was starting to come across like a whiny child. His movies were starting to not be appealing any more. My fandom was slowly starting to wane. At the same time, more people were starting to come up to me in excitement over something I had written, as opposed to how I looked. And as a nice cherry on top, I had finally started to cut back my calorie intake and start running three times a week, which led to me losing about thirty pounds over the course of 2009.
By this point, I was already starting to limit the number of times I would “Bob up” at conventions. But then, all of these elements came to a head at the beginning of this month when I finally decided it was time to reclaim someone I hadn’t seen in the mirror in a long time.
So, I promptly went to the local haircut place and had my hair cut differently than how I’d been wearing it for the past ten years. No longer was it all one length and down below my chin (I wouldn’t go the mullet route). Now it was long, but layered (more like the mullet route). The next step was to shave my decade of beard down to a goatee (technically a van dyke, but most folks consider it a goat). In the end, I went from this:
Now, this is the part where I tie all this back to my earlier back-up where I mentioned the Inaction Figures. As it turns out, when I looked up from my sandwich and put my foray into the four-coloured world of mutant struggles on hold the first thing my eyes focused on was the latest Kevin Smith variant to join my plastic army of smoking rotundables – a zombie version.
That’s when the thought struck me – I bought that guy right before I finally decided to go all “Silent Bob No More”.
I suddenly saw the unintended symbolism in that purchase. Or was it unintended? Maybe it was a subconscious smack in the face, telling me what I’ve already known but refused to acknowledge for the past couple of years – that I was overdue for a change.
Either way, that zombified Lunch Box suddenly held some kind of cosmic significance for me. It was as if the rotting corpse of plastic Kevin Smith was a metaphor for the fact that my Silent Bob days were finally dead. No more would I walk into a convention hall to the instant flood of crowding fanboys and fangirls as they “oohed” and “aahed” over my uncanny resemblance. No longer would I get stopped everywhere I went, whether it be Best Buy to pick up a Blu-Ray, or at the adjacent urinal as I do my best to make a dent in that little pink mint with my stream. Nope, my days of falsified fame based on someone else’s visage were finally over. Zombie Kevin Smith would now and forever be a symbol of my ability to finally let go. From now on, I would simply be Donnie Sturges, writer.
Or as some people have pointed out, that guy who looks like Mick Foley.