In interviews and in her memoir, Miss Mindy Kaling, the arguable current princess of comedy discusses her reliance on what she calls revenge fantasies to get her through her workout. Mindy claims that “being an actress in Hollywood” or “her health” aren’t reason enough to get up and get moving. And I’m here to tell you Mindy… you aren’t alone!
At swim training, in the gym or going for a run, whether I’m hearing the sound of rushing water or blaring the latest ministry of sound compilation it’s not the health benefits or the pumping jams that are getting me through. It’s elaborate, strange and well thought out challenges in my head that push me to work harder. Below are a few of my favourites.
1. There’s a zombie apocalypse and I have to get find my girlfriend and get out of the city:
As I walk to the gym from my house something fascinating, terrifying and ultimately world ending happens. A half decomposed, incredibly strong, terrifically fast zombie runs at me from behind a large black bin. It grapples me to the ground ripping my hoodie and scratching my face with blackened finger nails. My mind races as adrenaline takes over. I somehow get my elbow up to smack the creature in the top of the head. It grunts with annoyance as it falls off me. I scramble to me feet as fast as I can and stamp down hard on the creatures head. The skull breaks under my running shoe and a satisfying crunching sound reaches my ears.
I look around, a group of people are gathered around me staring at the mangled creature beneath my stained shoe. Screams come from all directions as a vile hoard of zombies rounds the corner at the top of Linksfield Road, beside the Tesco Metro, and begins to grunt and drag their way towards the crowd.
I turn tail and run my legs burning but fuelled by pure terror and a need to find my loved ones, I ignore the pain (I turn the treadmill form 9km/hour to 16km/hour, warm up’s over the hunt is on). At the bottom the road I turn left, sprinting with all my might towards my girlfriend’s flat. Please be home, please be home I plead inside my head. When I reach the house King Street is already mobbed with cars trying to escape. In the distance I can hear more screams. There’s no time to wait for an answer, I kick the door down and run inside. She’s collecting her things and frantically trying to call me. We hug, fight back tears from the happiness of not being alone and the fear of our situation. I help collect everything I can, running rounds of canned goods out to her car (I’m doing bicep curls and lateral raises now imagining the weights are really heavy tins of tomatoes and Heinz beans).
I use the old saw in her kitchen to cut down the fence beside her house (using the motion to do bent over row now) and then jump into her Fiat 500. We gun the car through the gardens of her neighbours, slaughtering several garden gnomes and one ceramic swan. Finally we reach the coastline where in a dukes of hazard style manoeuvre I jump the car onto the deck of an oil tanker filled with people escaping out to sea (I do squat jumps to this bit). Finally we are safe… for now!
(Time elapsed: 45 mins)
2. Terrorists are holding my parents to ransom:
I’m casually watching the news over brunch one happy Sunday when the unthinkable happens. “BREAKING NEWS: A GLASGOW COUPLE HAS BEEN CAPTURED BY A TERRORIST ORGANISATION” my jaw drops as I see their faces, my parents knelt on the ground in front of a scary looking flag pleading for the government to pay the 7 million pound ransom. The flag flutters and I see through a dirty window, the back of my house. I’ve got you now terrorists, I think to myself. You were foolish to hide in the Lawn Bowls club behind my house, you’re right where I want you!
(In the gym I’m doing pull-ups) I imagine myself climbing out the window of my flat and climbing down the Ivy on the walls. Dropping to the ground (jump squats) I army crawl (dips) my way across the garden, reaching for an old rusty shovel as I go (rollouts). I sneak through the bushes and climb up onto the roof of the bowling club (pull ups again). Once on the roof I make my way to the skylight and peer through the moss and bracken to the terror below.
My loving parents are tied back to back in a small square room, they both look tired and scared. I pang of hurt and anger shoots through me (I get a drink of water) at the sight and my strength grows because of it. I run softly across the roof to the next skylight.
Three men are sitting round a table playing cards and drinking some sort of dark liquor. I laugh to myself, inebriated fools, they won’t know whats coming. With a scream I smash the glass with my shovel and throw myself into the room swinging the shovel as I go (kettle bell swings). BAM one hits the deck, blood streaming from his broken nose. One reaches for a gun and jab him in the stomach with the butt of the shovel, bringing the other end up to crush the windpipe of the man in front. He crumples in agony to the floor clutching at his throat. The second man, no longer doubled over, has the gun at my head. But, before he has the chance to pull the trigger I grab his forearm and in one smooth motion break it at the elbow. With the three men incapacitated I walk to the small dark room and rescue my eternally grateful parents.
(Time Elapsed: 30 mins)
3. A plane I’m in crashes into the ocean and I must swim to safety:
On a flight to Barbados – a favourite fantasy destination of mine – one of the plane engines catches fire and we are forced to make an emergency landing (I dive into the pool). The cabin begins to fill with water as I kick the window out beside me (200m Kick). Once out in the open water I look around, the plane slowly sinks behind me, a handful of other passengers are floating among the remaining wreckage – all look terrified. In the distance I see an island. It’s far but not too far (I begin a set of 12 50m sprints).
The other passengers notice too and made a B-line for it. But I stop, one of the orange blow up plane slides isn’t inflated yet. I swim for it, grabbing the gas canister as well and take it with me (I put on drag shorts for the middle set of sprints).
Once I’ve caught up with the group (managed to get in front of the old man who is for some reason swimming in the fast lane) I inflate it. We take turns sitting on the slide-boat while others drag it towards the island. We swap stories about home and wander how we will be saved. One of the women has a waterproof satellite phone because she is a wildlife photographer on her way to Barbados to shoot the endangered black Parrot (a made up animal that I like to think looks like a really big crow with cooler wings). She passes the phone around and we all call our loved ones and tell them to inform the relevant authorities.
We find Jack Sparrow’s store of rum from the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” film and have ourselves and Island party.
(Time Elapsed 15 mins)
So there you have it, don’t worry Mindy you are not alone!