On a normal day, I’d want to talk about the nap that Kina took between frolicking at two playgrounds today—Brooklyn Bridge Park’s amazing-but-nearly-inaccessible-by-anything-other-than-a-thirty-year-mortgage-on-a-townhouse-on-Joralemon-Street Pier 6 complex (Slide Mountain! Sandbox Village! Water Lab!) and Greenpoint’s McGolrick Park (Slides! Sandbox! Water!)—but really I am here to tell you that I have finally, after months of looking, found the first edition of The Daily Kina. Drawn in crayon on a folded-over sheet of what I now know was pink construction paper, the original has eluded me since I started compiling these things into piles on shelves. Its absence was bothering me, because I’ve always intended to have the editions properly photographed when things cool down a bit—I didn’t want the inaugural April 3rd issue to be just a snap from my phone. So, I found it; that’s the good news. The bad news: somebody who clearly did not recognize the historical significance of this construction paper cut a half-moon out of its folded edge, excising the headline “Daniel Tiger: A Grreat Show”. Surprisingly, I was less angry to see this than not to have it the original at all, recognizing that a giant hole is just one of the many natural flaws in the production of this daily paper.
Crumple marks from angry publishers, bleeding ink from where the paper was laid atop a wet spot on the coffee table, egregious misspellings, crossed-out letters—all of these are threads of the fabric of this newsroom. I told myself from the outset that I would never prevent Kina from messing with the paper, in a very literal sense. If she wants to draw a line across the edition, that’s her call. If she’s angry at me, she’ll steal the paper. I presume that if she someday rips it in two, I will have to tape it back together. This is her sheet of paper. And so it seems appropriate that, at some point in the last five and a half months, she cut a circle out of the mint condition first printing and used it for some other art project. I am trying to hunt that art project down so that I can have it photographed, too—the remix laid out next to the project it drew from.
But I am also keeping these originals on a higher shelf.
Lately, I have been giving shape to the strong emotions that Kina feels from time to time. I ask her to draw close so that I can look into her eyes, listen to her ears, and smell her nose, concluding after some time that there is a monkey in her brain. We concoct an elaborate ritual together that will convince the monkey to emerge from her left ear into the palm of my hand, squeeze the monkey until it’s smaller than a mote of dust, and blow it into the wind—after which, for now, Kina calms down. In the last twenty-four hours, we have found the following mischievous animals in her brain: a monkey, a chicken, an octopus, a giraffe, a pigeon, and a tiny invisible skeleton. The last of these we coaxed out this morning by producing a fake slice of pizza out of yellow construction paper, alongside a sticky green rectangle—both of which are potent well-known lures for invisible skeletons. I don’t know if it’s the placebo effect or what (and I don’t want to jinx it) but Kina’s been a real charm all day; these animals are making our lives harder than they need to be! Ask yourself: What animal lives in my brain today? Once you know it, hold your palm up to your left ear and say out loud, “One, two, three, [animal name] go free!” to liberate it. Hold it tightly in your fist until you feel it nearly vanish, then open your hand and blow your tiny monster into the sky. Don’t you feel better now?
Today’s Parade is a Laurea-only number, featuring three flowers—one of which, a ring-shaped beauty, was invented exclusively for today’s edition. Another note: On looking back through all the Parades for the cut-out pink paper circle, I discovered that I’ve been emphasizing the wrong sides of the letters A for months, so I’ve corrected that going forward; my apologies.
I am, if anything, glad that the part of the original that survives includes a fantastic crayon drawing of Moosie and the legendary “Poo on the Floor” headline—the first story in a long narrative that I am grateful to have otherwise forgotten.