The 5 most basic emotions as outlined in another young relative’s notebook.
I spent most of today meditating on everything I ever felt about Peter Kaplan. But two feelings more than others: Deep sadness that he is gone, and gratitude that I knew him. I expect I will feel those two things for a longtime to come.
I wrote the below a few years ago for the tribute paper that was put out for him when he left the Observer. I’d like to write something else about him, but I am too sad at the moment. And anyway, I’m a dog trainer now. Let the many non-retired writers he mentored pen the eulogies. I’ll read them all with joy and sorrow.
“Come in here. Now.”
It’s 2002. 4pm—maybe. Someone rigged the clock to run backwards, so it’s anyone’s guess. I’m putting in my third month as Peter’s assistant at The New York Observer on East 64th. Peter has just returned from…Wait, please hold. Hello? Editorial? No, I can’t check Peter’s calendar; Peter doesn’t have a calendar. He does, however, have some Twizzlers.
"Anna Jane, come here!"
Hello, editorial? No, I can’t transfer you. I mean, I can, but he won’t pick up. I mean…Hello? Someone hasn’t been paid. Someone doesn’t understand why there are eight days in a week. Someone doesn’t believe in the existence of a Pappu or a Tinker. Someone is angry. Someone is asking me for story ideas. How about rickshaws? I’m worthless. And annoyed! And grateful. A few days earlier, Peter had called me “petulant,” and I was pissed but also didn’t know what that meant. Am I really petulant, or just tired? Maybe I really am having the time of my life. Also: I need to take a day off so I can go to commencement. Does Peter know I haven’t even graduated yet? I’m…Please hold. It’s Carol Channing. Singing Happy Birthday. Is this Stevenson?
He’s not going to dig rickshaws. Maybe something could be done about Max Fleischer? Push the pinkish beige door and there he is. Blue shirt, khakis, and, for a change, a beige blazer that could compete with the crocus as a telltale sign of spring.
"Shut the door!"
There are two chairs, a leather couch piled with books, a dozen bottles of booze, and a sense of insecurity — my own — that’s more oppressive than the smell of newspaper. I don’t matter. I’m not one of the “cool kids.” Everything could crumble at any second. All is fleeting. And suddenly, there is something cold in my hand. It’s a milkshake.
"It’s the best thing in the world," he says. “I only have this one. You can have it. Never tell anyone else."
It’s a black and white.
And it really is the best.
Mom: “I unfriended a whole bunch of people on Facebook because I just didn’t care to be seeing what they had for dinner. I follow you on Facebook, but you should post something other than dog training stuff. That’s all you post.”
What else would you like me to post?
Mom: “I don’t know. What you had for dinner?”
Franklin’s first selfie. First ever pig self portrait? Only in New York, kids. @franklinthepig #dogselfies
"You have a dog training school? Do you teach dogs to obey?"
All I want for Christmas is this vintage print of three kittens in yarmulkes taking a class on how to eat pork and lamb.
"Are there any good books just for dogs?"
Me: No. Dogs aren’t really into books.
"Why not? They prefer apps?"
Today at Crest Hardware in Williamsburg, mini pig Franklin learned to target a clicker stick. He was rewarded with dried banana slices. We were rewarded with lots of wags of a squiggly tail.
Check out Foundations 1 graduates ROFL, Luna and Willow! We were super impressed with this group. We have two Foundations I classes starting in December (one on Sundays, one on Sundays) and Foundations 2 starting in January. Not sure about Bill de Blasio’s plan for improving the education of NYC’s kids, but we’ve got the canine set covered.