Thursday, April 05, 2012

Quoting Kaling

Gramercy Park
I recently finished Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).  It's a quick and funny read, although not as funny as Tina Fey's Bossypants. You can't really hold this against Kaling, however, as she addresses it directly in the book's introduction (to the tune of "Sorry I'm not as funny as Tina.")

This collection of essays is all over the map, in terms of topics addressed. Which means that while reading it, I was able to work it into every conversation I had, because something in it applied to every conversation I had.

"I was just reading about creative success in Mindy Kaling's book..." or "Oh yeah, Mindy Kaling talks about how women characters in romantic comedies do not exist in real life..." and also "I share a similar karaoke philosophy with Mindy Kaling, as described in her book..."

My roommate poked her head into my room to discuss the difference between a certain man in her life and all the other boys, at the exact moment I was reading the chapter entitled "Men and Boys." Kaling-kismet, that's what that is.

(Apologies to people who were party to more than one of these conversations; I promise to stop quoting Mindy Kaling now.)

(Just a head's up: Next week I will be exhaustively quoting from Ronald Rolheiser. I like to mix things up, genre-wise.)


The following are various quotes I probably would have underlined in the book, had it not been a library copy:
"For example, I don't think it should be socially acceptable for people to say they are "bad with names." No one is bad with names. That is not a real thing. Not knowing people's names isn't a neurological condition; it's a choice. You choose not to make learning people's names a priority. It's like saying, "Hey, a disclaimer about me: I'm rude." For heaven's sake, if you don't know someone's name, just pretend you do. Do that thing everyone else does, where you vaguely say, "Nice to see you!" and make weak eye contact." (p. 4
I am a person who is good with names. On a rare occasion, I will appear to forget someone's name, but that is actually just a ruse to make myself seem less stalker-ish. In actuality, of course I remember their name. How else could I have google'd it to learn everything about them, including their alma mater and the approximate ages of their siblings??

I get that some people's minds are wired differently, and names don't seem to stick in their brains like they stick in mine. I get that, on an intellectual level. But on an emotional level, I don't get it. What I do get is annoyed, when I have to meet someone for the fourth time because they never can seem to remember my name and/or face. So I say an emotional "Amen!" to Mindy on this point.


"So things were coming together nicely for me to embark on a full-fledged depression. One good thing about New York is that most people function daily while in a low-grade depression.  It's not like if you're in Los Angeles, where everyone's so actively working on cheerfulness and mental and physical health that if they sense you're down, they shun you...In New York, even in your misery, you feel like you belong." (p. 57
This is very true. One of my Improv friends, when asked (in a get-to-know-you type exercise at the beginning of class) why she was doing Improv, replied, "Because my therapist thought it would be good for me. And I bet I'm not the only one!"  She was not.

Sometimes I get the feeling that most New Yorkers are in therapy, or were recently in therapy, or are currently shopping for a new therapist. And those who aren't probably maybe sorta should be. There is no stigma around therapy in this town. It is one of the things that binds us together (much like our collective hatred of Times Square, our shared terror of bed bugs, and our fondness for Shake Shack).

* * *
"That's one nice thing about being a dork about men: you can sometimes play it off as restrained and classy." (p. 74

Stop giving away all my secrets, Mindy Kaling.

On crying while listening to every song on the album Graceland: "The secret I learned is that albums that remind me of my childhood happiness make me incredibly sad now. I only have perfect memories of singing along to Graceland with my parents on long car rides to Virginia Beach to visit my parents' friends. It's sort of my go-to stock image of my childhood, actually. I think it has something to do with knowing I'll never be able to go back to that time that makes me cry every time I listen to it." (p. 170)
I can relate.  Certain Elton John songs, the Back to the Future soundtrack, and "Cherish" by Kool & The Gang all viscerally remind me of happy childhood car rides.  I am likely to burst into (ridiculous) involuntary tears when listening to any of this music.

All right, enough quoting!  If you want to read more, go buy the book yourself.  Or better yet, check it out from your trusty public library.  (You pay taxes, don't you?  Reap what you sow and go check out a funny book for free.)

1 comment:

Rosanne said...

ANYONE who can talk honestly about men and dork in the same sentence sounds like a sister separated at birth. i LOVE women who can say what we all think but can't or won't put into words. Thanks for the great book to check out :)
PS yah, about the dork thought......