Book review: Steve-O’s “A Hard Kick in the Nuts”

Confession time: as much as I would love to convince you all I’m some elegant-at-all-times lady, I am a sucker for the forever young, devil-may-care characters of my slightly younger years. One of those characters happens to be Steve-O.

Granted, I was still too young to be watching it when Jackass was on MTV and the first three movies came out. So even though I’d heard of the Jackass crew and roughly knew who they were, I didn’t really get familiar with the franchise until the past two years. The most I knew about Steve-O was 1.) His name and 2.) He successfully overcame alcohol and drug addiction back in 2008, which is awesome.

I really got introduced to Steve-O on his YouTube channel. If you haven’t checked that out, I can’t recommend it enough. He’s a gifted storyteller, so gifted at it that I can rewatch the same videos and still enjoy them like it’s the first time. I died at the terrible tattoo breakdown as well as the story of the stunts he wasn’t able to complete. The story of meeting Wendy the street dog in Peru, bringing her home and adopting her is heartwarming. He and his fiancee Lux have big hearts for their pets and animals in general. Overall, there’s a heart of gold beneath the attention whoring (before anyone objects, he straight up calls himself an attention whore. Is it possible to transcend self-awareness?)

Speaking of stories, I originally saw A Hard Kick in the Nuts at Barnes and Noble back in December during Christmas shopping. I thought about getting it then, but decided to hold off since I wasn’t there to shop for me. This past weekend I was back at Barnes and Noble, thinking I’d buy The Body Keeps Score. But I found myself downstairs looking at a book cover of Steve-O getting kicked in the nuts and knew it was game over. You all can probably guess which one I chose.

The review

A Hard Kick in the Nuts is part self-help and part memoir from a guy who admits he’s probably not the best source of advice. But holy crap is he entertaining. Remember how I said he has a gift for storytelling? This is the only guy who can pivot from talking about his decision not to have children and what motivated it – which was thoughtful – to a stunt called the Vasectomy Olympics, which is a series of physical challenges immediately after getting a vasectomy.

Over the course of my reading, I got to know Steve-O as a guy who knows he’s got baggage, and makes no bones about what it takes to maintain sobriety. For as much as he pokes fun at and criticizes himself, he’s very fair when talking about others, even when he has reason to be biting. Actually, that’s one of his rules (paraphrased a bit): be your own harshest critic, then quit beating yourself up and get to work.

With the exception of stunt work and the substance abuse, I discovered a bit of myself in Steve-O. A proclivity towards going balls deep or not at all in life/ventures? Yep – moderation isn’t my strong suit either. Afraid of getting old and not being able to enjoy life as I once did? I’m starting to feel that way. Animal lover? The patio critters who show up for the bowl of Meow Mix I like to leave out or some bird seed currently include two black cats, a tomcat on occasion, Miss Boop the possum and L’il Raccoon. Sometimes there’s a deer and there’s always a swarm of birds. I’d love if the rabbits and ducks would come back.

Steve-O, if you really want to get down to it, is most if not all of us to varying degrees.

The transformations throughout his life, from addict to sober and healthy, to the ten year period between Jackass 3D to Jackass Forever when he went into stand up comedy and built up his business, aren’t that far off from the transformations most of us go through. We all start off as kids, energetic and ignorant and believing the world is our oyster. Then some part of life happens and shakes our cores. There’s always the option to give up, like the saying about how men physically die at 74 but mentally and emotionally have been dead since 25, and be bitter and despondent. There’s the option to cling to youth and what once worked at the expense of dignity or reality. Or you can look at reality, change what you can and decide to accept the parts that are beyond you.

The tales aren’t always pretty and are hilarious with a side of shock value, but Steve-O shows it’s always possible to change and improve from where you’ve been, and to accept the parts of life that are to come. He may not have been going for inspirational, but that’s exactly the note A Hard Kick in the Nuts ends with.

Reader-friends, I love this book. That’s all I can say, to sum it up. I can’t wait to read some passages to my mom, especially the Vasectomy Olympics one. I bet she’ll have some questions. (I’m smiling to myself right now.)

So with that being said, I thank you for stopping by my little corner of the internet. Until next time,


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