Yesterday was an unexpectedly fun-filled afternoon. I was having lunch with my friend Steve at Clover Food Lab when the cashier reminded us that Amy Poehler was being crowned Hasty Pudding's 2015 Woman of the Year. I'd read about her coming to campus over the holidays but I had forgotten the date!
Hasty Pudding Theatricals was formed in 1795 and is one of the oldest existing student theatre groups. Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, Oliver Wendall Holmes and Jack Lemmon are all notable previous members. Apparently "The Pudding" is best known for their burlesque crossdressing musicals. (definitely googled all of that)
Every year the club names a "Woman and Man of the Year." They hold a parade through Harvard Square followed by a celebratory dinner and performance by the Harvard "Kroks" (Harvard's oldest a cappella group, founded in 1946). This year Amy Poehler was the lucky recipient (Chris Pratt will be here next Friday for his celebratory 'roast').
The parade was the most hilariously bizarre thing I have ever seen. Amy, holding a stuffed pig and wearing a tiara, was flanked by two men in drag as she floated down Massachusetts Ave. When she wasn't smiling and waving, she kept telling them: "Kiss Me!"
"Miss Massachusetts" and a brass band called "The Hot Tamales" followed behind her. The caboose of the parade was a procession of food trucks handing out "Hasty Pudding" (molasses with corn...gross), belgium waffles and fries. People dressed in outrageous animal costumes (sparkly unicorns were popular) kept tossing Trojan condoms into the crowd. Not even a generic brand...must be rich! (or sponsored) I don't know why but the mental imagery of the oldest university in the US (they love claiming everything is "the oldest" : clubs, buildings, people) being scattered with prophylactics is pretty amusing to me.
I just finished Amy Poehler's book "Yes, Please" (it was passed around my whole family so I think we've all inhaled it now). It says what most people are thinking but are just too afraid to say. Amy's also got some pretty insightful wisdom to impart.
Few of my favourite quotes:
- On Growing Up:
- "I think we should stop asking people in their 20s what they 'want to do' and start asking them what they 'don't want to do.' Instead of asking students to declare their major, we should ask students to list what they will do anything to avoid. It just makes a lot more sense.
- On Career & Success:
- "I believe great people do things before they are ready."
- "You will never climb Career Mountain and get to the top and shout, 'I made it!' You will rarely feel done or complete or even successful. Most people I know struggled with that complicated soup of feeling slighted on one hand and like a total fraud on the other."
- On Living Well:
- "Sleep helps you win at life."
- On Being Blonde:
- "Believe me, blond hair can take you really far, especially with the older men. It can really distract from the face. I am convinced I could have had sex with both Tony Bennett and John McCain if we weren't each happily married at the time we all met.
- On Being Pregnant:
- "When you are pregnant you can get away with a lot of sh*t. Women really are at their most dangerous during this time. Your hormones are telling you that you are strong and sexy, everyone is scared of you, and you have a built-in sidekick who may come out at any minute."
- On Writing:
- "Everyone lies about writing. They lie about how easy it is or how hard it was. They perpetuate a romantic idea that writing is some beautiful experience that takes place in an architectural room filled with leather novels and chai tea. They talk about their 'morning ritual' and how they 'dress for writing' and the cabin in Big Sur where they go to 'be alone' - blah blah blah. No one tells the truth about writing a book. Authors pretend their stories were always shiny and perfect and just waiting to be written. The truth is, writing is this: hard and lonely and occasionally great but usually not."