I’ve been reading a lot of history and heavy fiction so I was looking for something light to read when I picked up Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Prior to reading the book, I was completely unaware of Kaling’s talent beyond acting. As an uncommitted fan of The Office, I had no idea that she has writing, directing, and producing credits on the show. She is incredibly talented and hilariously funny — I was laughing out loud from page one (and even used the book as a pick-me-up the night that I spent too much time on social media concluding that I wasn’t doing enough to be as cool and accomplished as everyone else). In the book, which is a series of essays, she shares:
– advice to teenaged girls who want to know how they can get a career like hers:
…please don’t worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school, or the best athlete. Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but when you get older, if you reference your successes in high school too much, it actually makes you look kind of pitiful, like some babbling old Tennessee Williams character with nothing else going on in her current life. What I’ve noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also big star later in life. For us overlooked kids, it’s so wonderfully fair.
– her very pragmatic take on marriage (after expressing her frustrations with complaints from the married):
What happened to being pals? I’m not complaining about Romance Being Dead–I’ve just described a happy marriage as based on talking about plants and a canceled Ray Romano show and drinking milkshakes: not exactly rose petals and gazing into each other’s eyes at the top of the Empire State Building or whatever. I’m pretty sure my parents have gazed into each other’s eyes maybe once, and that was so my mom could put eyedrops in my dad’s eyes. And I’m not saying that marriage should always be easy. But we seem to get so gloomily worked up about it these days. In the Shakespearean comedies, the wedding is the end, and there isn’t much indication of what happily ever after will look like day to day. In real life, shouldn’t a wedding be an awesome party you throw with your great pal, in the presence of a bunch of your other friends? A great day, for sure, but not the beginning and certainly not the end of your friendship with a person you can’t wait to talk about gardening with for the next forty years.
– a set of instructions for her funeral:
None of my exes are allowed to attend. Distracting. Weird. (Okay, the only way I would even consider an ex attending is if he were completely, horrifically devastated. Like, when he heard I died, it made him take a good hard look at his life and his choices, and he turned Buddhist or something.)
No current wives or girlfriends of my exes are allowed to attend. This part is really, for real, non-negotiable. They’ll just use the opportunity to look all hot in black.
In many ways I think Mindy and I are kindred spirits. Like Mindy, I’m a child of immigrant parents, raised in the U.S.; I got out of chores by reading books; I will never let go of the memories of being picked on as a kid; I’m awkward around strangers’ babies; and I’ve seriously considered an invite list for my funeral (but who hasn’t…). I also used to wear thick framed glasses (long before hipsters made them hip). Now if only I had her comedic talents!