Friday, Feb. 23, 2024

Columnist Jody Jaffe

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Talk about extreme envy.

When I read Kristin Carpenter’s poignant column, “The Souls The Barn Builds,” I turned a deep and unflattering shade of green wishing I’d had her childhood. Then I imagined a version of reincarnation where you pre-order your upcoming life. “Just like Kristin’s,” I’d tell the Next Life Clerk.

I’ve been overthinking everything since I could think. Part of it is my culture; I come from a people who, if they didn’t invent psychoanalysis, certainly perpetrated it on the world.

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It wasn’t a total disaster, as in no medics were involved. But short of an ambulance ride to the emergency room, my two weeks at the Lexington Spring Premiere and Spring Encore AA shows couldn’t have ended much worse.

The Vogel boot showroom in lower Manhattan isn't much bigger than a generous box stall. Three shelves line the front window, offering an assortment of Vogel footwear: dress boots, field boots, paddock boots, men’s shoes and, at the far right hand corner, a pair of hot red leather boots for when I win the lottery.

I've been worrying about this day for more than two years. So in a perverse, Pollyana-ish way, I'm glad it finally came to pass.

Two years ago, I fell from my horse and hit my head hard enough to wipe out an entire day. I'd hit my head before from previous falls during my 40 years of riding but never lost that much time or memory.

It seems fitting that Woody, aka The Doctor of Confidence, leaves my farm right as my people celebrate the new year of 5773. He and I are both off to new and separate adventures.

Any good teacher knows never to overface a student, be it horse or human. It’s the most efficient way to shred confidence. I teach writing. I’d never tell a beginner writer to start her novel. That would be like my trainer telling me to jump a 4-foot oxer. The difference is that my writing student might suffer a bruised ego if she confronted a blank computer screen, whereas there’s no telling how many body parts I’d break or bruise if I attempted that oxer.

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