Serious As Dog Dirt by Bam Margera (2009)

It’s hard to believe that Jackass has been part of our lives for ten years now. Part of the show’s and group’s continued success can be directly attributed to the ever charismatic Bam Margera. He’s so charismatic in fact that the last time I was in West Chester, I tracked down his house. Somehow between all the guy’s video production, skateboarding, film making and attempts to break his own (and others’) bones, Bam found the time to put together a book as well.

I love a good tell-all autobiography. Sitting right next to me on my bookshelf are titles like “Clapton,” “Hawk,” and “The Men Behind Def Jam.” Of course, expecting something straight forward from one of the world’s most chaotic individuals was just setting myself up for disappointment. Instead, “Serious As Dog Dirt” is a scrapbook chronicling the past 13 years of Bam’s life. An avid note taker, “Dog Dirt” contains nearly 300 pages from Bam’s personal calendars, with hundreds of handwritten diary entries and photographs included as well.

Acting as a crude “Keep Out” sign is a small drawing at the top of page one with two crossed pistols and a banner that reads “North Philly Faggot”. In other words, “Abandon all modesty, ye who enter.” Bam’s PG-13 gloves got left behind with MTV’s network censors, as the pages of this book are filled with stories of sexual escapades, drug and alcohol abuse, and worse. Next to one photo of Bam and his not-yet-then wife, the author has scribbled, “I knew this bitch was the one.” And directly on top of his wife’s picture, he’s written the three words every woman loves to hear: “I fucked her.”

For Bam’s true fans, there’s gold in these here hills. Some of the notes share stories or give insights that fans will recognize. Many of Bam’s calendar entries relate to specific events. One entry notes, “Saw My Chemical Romance and Avenged Sevenfold.” Another states Bam “went to 50 Cents house in Connecticut”. One amazing thing about the guy that you’ll learn is that there’s not a blank day on his calendar. Ever.

As I mentioned, there are also hundreds of photographs filling every page of the book. Few (if any) are captioned, so you just have to enjoy them for what they are. With so many candid photos, this is probably as close as you’re going to get to flipping through the guy’s personal family albums.

My biggest complaint about the book is that much of it is hard to read — not figuratively, but literally. It seems like many of the calendar pages were shrunk down to fit the book’s pages, leaving much of Bam’s handwriting nearly microscopic in size. Other pages feature notes written in light-colored markers, or text right down the middle of the book’s spine. Sometimes his handwriting is legible, other times, no so much. There’s nothing more frustrating than buying a book and not being able to make out the words!

One of my favorite parts of the book were the “Jackass Sketches”. Bam notes that it was too much work to try to explain many of the Jackass stunts in words, so he just started drawing them. Fans of the show will recognize some of them, while others have yet to be filmed. One of my personal favorites is the appropriately titled “Shit Catapult”, where some poor soul gets catapulted into a pile of … well, you know.

Reviews of the book on Amazon are split down the middle. Bam’s hardcore fans are rating the book five stars, while more casual customers are giving it a one. If your dream is to own a copy of Bam Margera’s personal scrapbook, then “Serious As Dog Dirt” is the book for you. It’ll make a great companion to the “tell-all” biography that’s bound to appear someday.

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