I was tickled to see Mindy Kaling’s contribution to the April 2012 Ladies’ Home Journal article “A Memo to My Younger Self” (which seems to have been inspired by Julie Orringer’s “Note to Sixth-Grade Self,” a coming-of-age tale so awesome it deserves its own blog post). I always like to hear about people who spent their adolescent years feeling like dorks but went on to do some badass things with their lives.
Anyway, Mindy’s first and last points in the piece seem pretty related to each other.
“First of all, don’t let that kid in your class, Danny, who called you fat, make you self-consciously wear oversized sweatshirts for the next four years to hide your body. That kid is horrible and years from now he will be boring and bald and trying to get in touch with you to come to the set of the TV show you work on. …
“Finally: Don’t let anyone give you any crap. Mastering a balance of these last two will take you a lifetime, so you had better get started now.”
I finally got around to reading Mindy’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns) this weekend and laughed so hard at some of her lists, I had tears. So is the Danny in the LHJ piece actually that Duante jerk in the book? Probably. I wonder how it feels to have a former classmate document your jerkiness for posterity.
The way Mindy captures certain details cracks me up as well, because they’re points of reference that I myself wasn’t even aware of having. Other asides are just plain hilarious for being so incisive. Not even 10 pages into the book and I’m giggling myself silly over observations like “Alternate Titles for This Book” being “The Book That Was Never a Blog,” “When Your Boyfriend Fits Into Your Jeans and Other Atrocities,” and “There Has Ceased to Be a Difference Between My Awake Clothes and My Asleep Clothes.”
Her self-proclaimed timid-chubster “before” pics belong on that website Before You Were Hot too, along with maybe the image of her as one of People’s “Most Beautiful 2011” and an excerpt from her story “When You’re Not Skinny, This is What People Want You to Wear.” In it she links back to the “don’t let anyone give you any crap” bit of advice as she describes the People photo shoot. Totally worth multiple reads, the whole thing. I love finding a new favorite book.
• Mindy Kaling Q&A (The Believer)
• “Mindy Kaling on Diets, High School and Other American Pastimes” (NPR)
• “A Long Day at ‘The Office’ With Mindy Kaling” (The New York Times)
• And more here.
(Top photo: Autumn deWilde for NPR)
Update: I was wondering why Mindy hadn’t posted on her blog for a while and then I went online and found out that her mother passed away in late January. It makes the dedication of her book and her other words in the LHJ piece all the more poignant, because she talks about spending time with and missing her parents “so much it hurts.”