Deep down inside beneath the fragile walls of stability, I have the potential to be one of those celebrity stalkers who falls so in love with a stranger that she loses precious touch with reality and ends up stuffed in an orange prison jumpsuit writing extreme fan letters about the texture of the chicken and noodles from the comfort of cell block 12.
I just get really interested in people, OK? People I know and people I don’t. I’m a journalist, so I can play this off as a healthy and productive behavior, which works out great. The truth is, I grew up on a steady diet of People magazine, so famous people were always there for the dissecting in glossy pictures on the tank of the toilet, buying fresh cut flowers from Whole Foods (who does that?), sandwiched between What Color Is Your Parachute? and the TV Guide.
I’ve only ever contacted one celebrity. His name was Taylor Hanson.
I executed said stalking with my friends Michelle and Summer in the 7th grade, on the floor in front of Michelle’s bunk beds. We put glitter stickers all over the letter and politely asked the Hanson brothers (including the other two out of angelic charity) how they liked being home-schooled. We never got a response, and Taylor now has 6,456 babies with a woman who is not me. I learned that day letter writing campaigns never pan out like you think.
But I did excellent work nonetheless obsessing over the following celebrities, in either a romantic way or in a platonic girl crush, be-my-friend-and-get-beers-with-me-and-tell-me-where-you-got-that-caftan-now way:
1. Jordan Knight (age 7)
2. Lucille Ball (age 10)
3. Taylor Hanson (age 12, see above)
4. Ricky Martin (age 14)
5. Darren Hayes from Savage Garden (age 16)
6. Craig David (age 19)
7. Jenna Fischer (age 25)
8. Lily Allen (age 26)
9. Cristiano Ronaldo (age 27)
10. Soccer players in general (age 27)
11. Tina Fey (current)
12. Beyonce Knowles (current)
13. Joan Collins (current)
14. Mandy Moore (current)
15. Cesar Millan (current)
16. Matt Damon (current)
17. Mindy Kaling (current)
I’ve loved Mindy since day one of The Office, when she used to wear navy blue ascots and school marm buns. I loved her even more when she started wearing gold stretch pants and declaring she would name her child “Usher Jennifer Hudson Kapoor.” And I loved her even more when I realized she could not only play a hilarious character, but that she was also a comedy writer, and therefore, the best.
I’m obviously reading her book now, like a good silent stalker. It’s called Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), and in the first chapter she says she wants to be friends with Beyonce (see entry 12, above).
Later she talks about her first big break, a play in which she and a real-life non-stalker best friend who we are led to believe may still wear maxi pads, cross-dress together and channel Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (see entry 16, above) in a play called Matt & Ben. They had no budget and borrowed clothes from boys they knew. And Time magazine called it one of the 10 best theatrical events of that year.
"If I can give one bit of advice to any drama major, high school theater kid, or inmate who is reading this in a prison library with dreams of being cast in the prison play, it's this: write your own part. It is the only way I've gotten anywhere. It is much harder work, but sometimes you have to take destiny into your own hands. It forces you to think about what your strengths really are, and once you find them, you can showcase them, and no one can stop you."
AH. YES. OHKAY?
I read this late last night as I was feeling very vulnerable and somewhat ill, having as you may recall just posted a video of myself reading part of a novel I wrote about a girl who kills a guy with juice wine.
Real talk. It would be much safer for me to just stay in the house all the time eating sesame chicken and scoops of peanut butter with the blinds closed and never take any chances at all, but, if Mindy is to be believed, that kind of timidness will only help you land a chorus role in the community production of a Victorian musical.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, if that’s what you’re into. But I’d rather play the proverbial Matt Damon. He has great teeth and seems like he'd be really cool to, you know, grab a beer with or whatever. (Call me.)