Hyperion Publishing wasn’t crazy about Steven Glover’s idea for the tagline of his memoir, “Professional Idiot” (Hyperion, $26).
Glover — better known as Steve-O from MTV’s “Jackass” and “Wildboyz” — says he wanted to market the book as “a story of a young boy who hated school and then got paid for shoving stuff up his butt.” While the publishers were a little more conservative with their title, Glover’s book does detail his unorthodox resume. Among its highlights: He’s swallowed live goldfish and puked them back up, leapt from inadvisable heights, and, perhaps most famously, stapled a very sensitive jewel-holding portion of his anatomy to his leg.
Glover also reveals details from his childhood, his crashing descent into years of drug addiction and alcoholism, and his eventual recovery three years ago, as well as his recent turn on “Dancing With the Stars.”
How did writing a book compare with some of the scary stuff you did on “Jackass”?
It was terrifying. My story is so unflattering, and the reality of what a [jerk] I’ve been is an intimidating thing to share. But I’m glad I did it.
In the book, you wrote about how fame functions like a drug for you, and yet you’re still living a very public life. Does that make your recovery even more difficult?
I think recovery for me has been a function of establishing an identity apart from Steve-O, between finding a separation between who I am and what I do. When I was really new in sobriety and had just left rehab, I was super-unsure about whether I could pursue this career.
Did you ever think about just going to work at Wal-Mart?
I came up with a plan to ditch it all and just join the Peace Corps. But the process they have is totally designed to weed out people like me.
But around that same time, I got a call about doing “Dancing With the Stars,” and I felt like it would be a safe way to kind of get my feet wet. I was able to do all my rehearsal down the street from my halfway house, and I didn’t have to travel at all. I felt it was a safe way to re-emerge into the spotlight. But, ultimately, it turned out to be stressful.
Why is that?
Doing something you’re really bad at in front of 20 million people isn’t great for early sobriety. But to be as bad at dancing as I am and to last six weeks — to feel all that encouragement and all that love, it meant a lot. But by the time I did get eliminated, I couldn’t handle much more.
Do you consider your book an addiction memoir?
Well, it’s not all about addiction. I think people want to know what we did film that wasn’t on TV, and I’m more than happy to tell people that. I’m notoriously bad at keeping secrets.