Alright, couldn’t hold off any longer. I need, yes, need, to discuss a book that I read and reread until I could quite possibly quote whole sections of it, if not the entire text. I’m taking about Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I bought the book the first chance I got when it came out in 2011, as I was already an avid 30 Rock fan and thoroughly convinced that Tina Fey could solve all my life problems in one go after just a second of talking to me. I was about seventeen years old and still in high school, so in all likelihood she probably could’ve. I didn’t have that crazy an adolescence.
I connected to Tina’s story because she too had an apparently rather naturally nerdy childhood. I can’t say I had as many fabulous theater friends as she did in high school, but I definitely had as many if not more Star Wars action figures I loved to play with. Fey was freaking hilarious, to the point where I had to be cautious about reading the book in public because random bouts of cackling laughter from a total stranger can apparently be rather off putting. Only after the third or fourth time reading the book through could I expect myself to keep a relatively cool face in public, and even then not always.
I felt oh-so very special to get a behind the scenes perspective of how her time on SNL or 30 Rock went, but what really excited me beyond all else were the stories she told of her personal life. Even now, I don’t have the personal experience of getting married and having kids, of course, but I none the less felt like I could very well have shared the experience with her after reading those stories, like one of my favorites about how she and her husband went on a cruise and their ship almost went down in a fire. Yeah, that does make me sound a bit eerie, relishing in her near death experience but it was how smoothly she handled describing her super awkward at ultimately nearly deadly vacation that made me reread the story so many times, not the potential promise of her watery death, promise.
Of course, I knew full well by then that this connection was the sort of thing any good, or even mostly decent writer could accomplish, but I suppose her personal style and embracing just fell into such a close frequency to my own that I could dive into full on hero worship. I hadn’t wanted this badly to emulate someone’s life since my one babysitter showed me her Legolas figurine necklace and told me she wanted to be a librarian.
The funny thing is, reading that book also taught me I didn’t have so much in common as I’d thought. She, for example, admitted to being allergic to animals and generally indifferent to dogs and cats. I, on the other hand, absolutely love animals, with a particular soft spot for dogs, as evidenced by the fact that this website is now forever open in at least one tab when I need to use the internet even for one second. I still count Tina Fey as a goddess of my personal pantheon though, right up there with the aforementioned babysitter, easy mac and cheese, and John Green.
I feel like blind spots or allowances can’t help but exist in hero worship. It’s a funny thing to, worship a person and even try to emulate a person you know you may have very important differences with. I think part of being an adult is being able to realize your heroes are humans too and would probably be real creeped out if they met you and the life-size sculpture of their likeness you made entirely out of empty easy-mac n cheese cups just for them. Tina Fey is really helpful in that respect thanks to her self-deprecating style of humor. She probably could still solve all my life problems, but I no longer feel the need to ask my easy-mac Fey shrine for guidance every night, and I’m down to rereading Bossypants only every other month.