Willem Dafoe ("The Florida Project") reads Bruce Eric Kaplan's essay, about waiting for a hilarious secret to be revealed.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Modern love, the podcast is supported by produced by the island a W B war, Boston. Oh, the from the New York Times and w you are Boston. This is modern the stories of love loss and redemption. I'm your host, magnetron puberty, the! What do you do when the clock runs out on relationship when there's? No, time left to ask the questions you need answered. That's what Bruce Eric Kaplan sorts through in his essay missing a father. I hardly knew
Willem Dafoe, who was recently nominated for an academy award for his role in the Florida project, reads Bruce's piece: the psychic started to laugh what I said after your father dies. She said you're going to find out something about something: hilarious, wow, what they aren't saying, but apparently it's really funny- it's been going on for a while. Is it going on right now? Definitely this is very frustrating. I thought is it sexual? I asked I think so, but it And have to be a stroll through the various possibilities to think of what it could be, nothing felt like him. Obviously she said you must have sensed already that
had this surprising thing going on that, you know nothing about. That is just totally crazy and I I thought for a moment no well whatever it is, when you find out you're going to laugh, This conversation happened nine years ago. My wife was writing a television pilot based on a book about a famous psychic. We were having dinner with the scientific and she did an impromptu session with me. So Kate could see or inaction. I say this distress that the prediction came from someone a lot of people considered to be, a very reliable source when my Father, Jerry, was dying just over two years ago. I kept thinking about how little I knew him, which isn't to say I hadn't spent time with him. I lived with both him and my mother in Maplewood, New Jersey. Until I
went to college. I talked to him on the phone every week when soon after in college, I moved to LOS Angeles, I came back frequently to see them, and then him after my mother died. and in the last five years I have worked on a television show that shoots in New York and saw him every spring and summer. But I am here to say we almost never talked about anything, nothing. Zero once after one of our excruciating lead all phone calls. I ran to the table when I draw cartoons and quickly did one of the man on the telephone, saying I'm not Trying to say anything, I'm just talkin the week that cartoon appeared in the new Yorker. I spoke to my father and he chuckled and said yard.
Joan was very funny. This week I was startled first, he didn't often comment on my cartoons, but even more odd. It was about him and I wondered dizzy now it's about him and if he does now shouldn't he be upset and if he's upset should I be upset, but since he doesn't sound upset, he must not realize it's about him, so he must think it's about other people, but he can't think that, because other people actually say things and he doesn't Okay, we didn't talk about nothing, but nothing was ever really said. We basically talked about relatives movies, he saw or books. He read.
But the conversation had to stay at a certain level or he would get frustrated or stay silent once when he called me and asked why, was new and I told him my wife had had her third miscarriage in two years. He simply hung up the phone. When we were growing up there was another Jerry, Catalan in maple. Would we would get his mail? Sometimes we didn't really know him, but there was something striking about the fact that there was this other Jerry Kaplan wandering around town. Also taking the train. To and from Manhattan each day. I wonder now if it was so striking, because there was actually another Jerry Kaplan living in our house. The other Jerry Kaplan was inside of our Jerry Kaplan My father would often start to say something then say forget it. It would be right when
was going to be real with you safe. I he was really thinking. Then he wouldn't. it's almost as if he would be in danger if he did. When someone starts to say something and then says forget it, I get unnaturally angry. starting to say something and then saying forget it is the worst thing you can do to a person. I say every time it happens, which I dont really believe, but I I'm assuming my father learned at an early age that there is nothing more dangerous than showing your true self. I think a lot of us learned that- and it actually may be true, but many of us tried to unlearn that he didn't
So all I can really tell you about my father is that he did odd things like put tin foil on a bottle of beer after having a few sips, then put it in the refrigerator to perhaps have on another night. I don't even know if he actually had the beer in the subsequent days. It would sit in the refrigerator with the tinfoil on it he loved to sing. Oh, you can't fool me. I'm sticking to the union As far as I know he read every book, written by Susan Isaacs, Rona, Jaffe, Avery Corman, an avenue hunter, he could be well meaning my mother always bought our birthday gifts, the steer after she died. He worked hard to get me a gift. He thought I would like he sent me. Manhattan when I was young by Mary Cantwell, when I called to thank him, he was very proud of himself.
Didn't I get you the type of book you would like. He asked yes to look for a really long time, but then I sought and no then it was the one to get. You did a great job. I said. I didn't mention that I had already read it. In fact, I had given my copy to my mother in him and it was in his house. When I was little, he would buy me a miniature chocolate, putting pie from the old german Ladys Bakery on Springfield Avenue and when I was old, he would still buy them for me, when I came to his house to visit with the little chocolate shavings, atop whipped cream, those pies looked like tiny pieces of art And my father had certain things: he loved like network tv movies, all network tv movies, Annie, network
movie. It could be about a woman in jeopardy, as so many of the women in them were, or a family in jeopardy. My favorite John Raw, any. A family went on a vacation. A motorcycle gang would torture them for no good reason, which was extremely unfair Oracle, be a comedic one about two women who switch lives or the dramatic one where someone like Gay teenage Susan Day as wrongfully, put in a woman's prison or a light romantic. comedy about a woman who loses a lot of weight and gets a new life played by petty, Duke Patty, Duke was in a lot of them then. Patty, Duke Astin, was in a lot then Patty Duke again, most nights because they were on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. My mother would ask
What tv movie was on the night terror, my father might say, You might guess from the title. This was a woman in jeopardy. One Valerie Harper is driving across country by herself and has often happen to these women astray. Your suddenly starts torturing her until I think she is forced to kill him in self defense, they were almost always force to kill the man in self defense. What's it about? My mother would ask its based on a sort story, my father, reply, no matter what the movie was about the first time. She really thought it was. Then it became their joke, our joke. I guess because when I think about it now I smile
So after my father died, I waited for what the psychics it was going to happen. Some big and hilarious secret would be revealed To be honest, I didn't really believe it would, but I hoped I wanted to find out. was really going on in that enormous bald head, it was My strength, in fact, as you may have suspected, I didn't find out a thing. Nothing private or interesting was revealed and still hasn't been, and I guess- never- will be so I'm never going to get that laugh. The psychic said I would and I will never really know my father and that's that it's a strange and sad thing to miss someone. You never know On the other hand, he gave me so much. I do remember the nice things he would do.
like by name many chocolate, pudding pies and the strange things like the tinfoil on the beer and the idea that, no matter how banal ever story- is based on a soccer story. Probably even this one, willing Willem Dafoe reading Bruce Eric, blends essay missing a father. I hardly knew we, asked Willem why he chose this piece. Basically, I like the details in the story. They aren't from my life, but they felt very familiar and expressed something poetic and then ultimately, I think I think about my father, who has passed and I loved him, but I
not four hundred and eighty five. We'll hear from Bruce Eric. when, after the break the the. I love spelling bee my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together, I mean sitting next to each other playing individually. not cheating, sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in salary They may have happened again to I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words. Then I always get nervous. I sent it to my parents or something me and my dad. We liked the first time together and I wish her out out forgot it
J J C K, p o t it's a Jaguar. yeah nice I'm same as earth's sky, the digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com, slash games, Bruce Eric Kaplan cartoonist and a tv writer who's worked on girls, Seinfeld and six feet under, and he says that he wrote this piece for a simple reason. I just wasn't done relationship was over there's nothing more over than someone dying, but there were a lot of questions for me about my father and I wrote the piece because I was grappling with them. This person who loomed so importantly in my life and still does- I felt I didn't know who he was really does he didn't share so much of him
So I don't blame him and don't I I wrote a memoir about my parents and the dedication is this is for my parents who tried- and you know I that's what I believe I believe my parents tried there It sounds so sad for a funny piece. It sounds so sad so it didn't have a strong connection with his parents when he was a kid, but he did have something else. I watch tv, you know constantly and I loved it so much. that I wanted, I would say that I wanted to crawl into the television. I always felt something was missing in my interactions with my parents, in a way that I didn't when I was watching tv because
on tv emotions were so honest in a way that that wasn't happening in my real life, and you know I do think it's why I became a tv writer cause. I wanted so much to go inside of it. That I did. I know that I've always been drawn in the tv shows that I've worked on two themes of intimacy and the scariness of intimacy, and I think it comes from growing up in a house where, on some level a message was sent that you can only be so intimate, otherwise it will be used against you. I felt like if I, if I,
is upset. That was just too much for them like they did. My father, you know, hangs up the phone. He literally hung up the phone didn't say goodbye, just just click like when I was upset when we had that you know the phone call about my wife's miscarriages. He just couldn't deal with it. Just like that, and I am not capable of being in this moment. Bruce has two kids they're, ten and twelve, and he says that his relationship with them is vastly different than the relationship he had with his father. Obviously, when you're a parent, you do a lot of things that are just like your parents. In other ways, when you become a parent, you try to be the parent that you didn't have, and I know I've overcorrected in that way with my kids, you know because my parents, I never knew what was really in their heads and I'm always sharing with them
like what's in my head? Not nothing, that's inappropriate for them, but just if I'm upset they know I'm upset. I always want them to know that how I'm acting to them is not always a response to them. Cuz. I never understood that as a child, as for the possibly hilarious thing that the psychic saw about his father after the piece was published. Someone came up to me and said it was the psychic so and so, and I said yeah and he said. Oh, my mother, my mother goes to the psychic. She says the psychic says that about everyone, but I still. I can't help myself. I even though that was said to me, I still wonder what does the psychic really say that to everyone or is it about my father? Pardon me, still believe like. Well, maybe I'll find out the truth from the psychic or maybe
The owl learn something from some one that will make me no, this person better. I still dream about my parents and you now there's part of me that thinks it is her. Could I dream something that will reflect the truth and then I'll? Wake up and I'll know more and will be closer then we were in real life and I still can't quite believe that the relationship is over and it won't Be more than what it was, Bruce Eric Kaplan he's a cartoonist and tv writer living in LOS Angeles after the Break Dan Jones, editor of modern love for the New York Times.
I love spelling bee my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together. I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating, sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own- I feel a little betrayed in salary. They may have happened again to. I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words. Then I was get nervous. I sent it to my parents or something me and my dad. We like the first time together and I wish her out out forgot it. J. A c k, p o t jackpot. Yeah nice I'm same is risky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at annoying times dot com, flash games.
Dan. Joan says that to him, this is a story about foiled expectations itself, funny how he begins the peace with this with being promise this mystery about his father. That he's going to and out about later, and that this ten eyes and aspect that at some sexual mystery of about his father and Of course the reader is promised that two or the listener- and you think ok while the pay off of this I say, is going to be we'll get to know father better get to know this mystery and course. You don't get either of those things and neither neither does the writer. So at the end, you have to think what is it about into me? It sort of the poignancy of of realizing and accepting the truth of that Next week we non Johnny and Emily Gordon of the big Stick
they read an essay about how a mother's cooking comes between a husband and wife. May not wear her emotions on her sleeves, but that's only because, firstly, the up and her emotions are lying in the bottom of a pot. My rejection of akin kimchi chicken is a rejection of what she does who she is. I know this, but I have to push back. because there's another woman in my life who wants to cook for me, Modern love is the production of the New York Times and W B you are Boston, NPR station, its produced directed and it is by Jessica, Albert John parody. Emory see written and Caitlin Oki here for the model of pod cast was conceived by these a Tobin Iris. Adler's our executive producer, Daniel Jones is the
of modern love for the New York Times and adviser to the show music for the past, because even Pierre. I make a jackal body next week the.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-16.