So I’m sitting on the couch in my usual position—staring into space with my laptop searing my legs—willing that one great idea to just fling itself from the black pit that is my mind and make itself known, so that I may impart its wisdom to the world.
Suddenly, I got an email. I thought “this is IT!”. Then I saw it was from someone named “Commander Pants” offering his new book Whom God Would Destroy. So, I figured what the hell, I had nothing better to do and besides, my legs were beginning to smoke.
I did have a word of warning for him though: It better not suck. And it didn’t.
So Commander, why the stupid name?
I like to think of myself as “Commander Pants, protector of the very fabric of our American wardrobe.”What made you think BF was the right place for your book?
I saw that you had reviewed that Pride and Prejudice zombie thriller as well as Homunculous and Mantid. I figured that you had to be a bit warped. I'm glad I was right.
In the book, God basically comes back to mess with mankind. Why the cynicism about religion?
I just think its outgrown its usefulness. Take the 10 Commandments; it’s a great rulebook for a civilized society, but should we still need it? It seems that by now we should be studying religion in history books rather than letting it rule our lives. I mean, let’s face it, religion today causes more problems in the world than all the ethnicity, starvation, disease and bad toupees put together.
What motivates you to write?
I would have to classify myself as a joyful cynic, and as such I revel in the absurdities that I see and read about every day. One of my recent favorites was the pastor who had a bring your guns to church service so his parishioners could celebrate Jesus in a truly American way. Yup, the meek may inherit the earth, but in the meantime we Americans are going to keep it safe for them.
I guess it boils down to that bumper sticker, the one that says, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” Well, for me it’s just a case of replacing the outrage with laughter.
Does your alter-ego have a real job?
You think it’s easy being an imaginary superhero? Let me tell you, it doesn’t put food on the table or beer in the fridge. That’s why my alter ego - perhaps we should call him Dudley - has to work. And since they’re always saying that you should write about what you know, I thought that Dudley should be a mental health outreach worker. He’s been at it for years, but sadly his agency just lost his contract - I suspect that it fell behind the refrigerator - and he’ll be going on the dole. The bright side is that it will let me concentrate on being Commander Pants full time. I’ve never been a starving artist, and I expect it should be gobs of fun.
So, if you’re writing what you know, then are you the mental patient, the outreach worker or God?
That’s a toughie. The simple answer would be the outreach worker. It’s what Dudley’s been paid to do. But on a more metaphysical front, I guess I’ve been all three at one time or another.
Take the mental patient; I think we’re all on some kind of emotional rollercoaster, I know I am. Some are just a lot hairier than others. I guess you might call it “Bipolar Lite.”
As for the God thing, I must fess up to having whacked my share of mosquitoes. But don’t let that worry you; I’m not always the wrathful Old Testament sort of God. I can also do the Jesus bit, like when I save those other helpless bugs from drowning in my mother-in-law’s pool.
So, Commander, what do you do when you’re not writing books?
Actually, books are just one part of my whole imaginary super hero shindig. I’ve also been busy inventing a whole new genre of music slash story called the “stong,” a monster I plan on unleashing onto an unsuspecting world via CD this fall. The first installment is entitled, “Till the End of Time………or late Tuesday,” and features ironic short stories - about death and cross dressing rays - all put to my music.
You can’t see me right now, but I should mention that I am vigorously rubbing my hands together in a sort of maniacal glee.
Actually, we CAN see you… Since most of us here at BF are (or should be) medicated, what are your thoughts on the use?
As far as their recreational uses go, I’m all for them, as long as you aren’t piloting my 747 or careening at me in the oncoming lane.
As for their prescribed uses, that’s where I become a bit divided. Although they are often good at helping people cope with their personal boogie monsters, there are way too many times that I’ve seen them used to make people who aren’t dangerous - just original - more palatable for the rest of us so called sane people. In this capacity, they do a fine job of pruning back these incredibly unique people’s originality – turning a jalapeno pepper into just another slab of cream cheese.
There’s another interesting side to this whole medication question: the pharmaceutical companies are constantly bombarding us with the idea that “there’s a pill for that.” Hey, why not? It is the age of instant gratification, isn’t it? If you’re uncomfortable in groups, why deal with it when you can simply pop a pill? Sounds great, but the sad truth is that these pills often don’t do the magic…not that it stops the doctors from prescribing them or the pharmaceuticals from raking in the cash.
Ok, let’s get personal. Is there a Mrs. Pants?
I just have to make sure that the divorce is still on hold and then I will get back to you.
So Commander, do you have any last words before we go?
I guess that I just wanted to remind your readers that I will officially be going the starving artist route as of October 1st, so please give the book a try. If anyone wants to wait, I am at work on my next novel. It’s called “The Nearly Nirvana Shopping Experience,” and it’s about Atlantis, shopping and bar codes.
Oh, and one quick piece of advice about pseudo-identities: I have learned from experience, pick them well or your emails might be mistaken for “come”-ons from a porn star!"
Thank you so much for your time. Please give our best to Dudley and good luck with the whole starving thing. We look forward to your next book.