Alive Day: A celebration of Life from an unlikely source

I sat down today to write about being ethnically ambiguous.  That is what I am considered to be as an actor and what roles I am submitted to play.   I sat in the waiting room today at an audition surrounded by other dark-ish ethnically hard to place actors who were paired together as husband and wife.

I struck up a conversation with a girl who I thought looked Hispanic, and an guy who was pretty obviously African American.  The girl said she was once instructed to “get a tan” in order to book a role in West Side Story because she wasn’t dark enough to pull off Puerto Rican.  The guy chimed in that he isn’t “black enough” for most of the roles he goes out for.  “Everyone thinks I’m Jewish,” I interjected, to which they both nodded in agreement, “or Italian.” I concluded, to which they also gave the nod of approval.  I am neither Jewish nor Italian.   I can play both on TV, however, as well as a mom and a bitch and a bunch of other things that I’m not,  and in this industry that’s really the only thing that matters.

That being the extent of my inspiration on the ethnically ambiguous, I moved my computer to the bedroom, climbed upon my raised day bed, clicked the remote, and turned the channel to ABC.

“People don’t know what to do”  Oprah compassionately expressed to a man in a soldier’s uniform and the concerned woman by his side.  The soldier had a large scar across his shaved head and each of his eyes pointed in a different direction as if he was unable to focus.  The topic of the show: The Bravest Families in America  I visited the Oprah website to get up to speed.  “While serving with the National Guard in 2005, Corey and his outfit were hit by a roadside bomb. Three men were killed and Corey was gravely wounded. Doctors initially told Jenny that Corey wasn’t going to make it, but miraculously, Corey survived.”

“I heard that you celebrate the day he was hit?” Oprah cautiously inquired.  The wife responded with a smile that yes, they do indeed celebrate it and refer to it as “Alive Day.”  The other 3 people hit that day all died, and Cory, although blind and suffering from major irreversible brain damage,  was alive.  Cory’s wife stated that “Soldiers move on.  It’s what they do.” Cory and his wife and their children appeared to be doing just that in the best way they knew how.   I now had tears in my eyes.  I thought of my brother who served a year in Iraq and the friend of his who lost his legs in a road side bomb, and his other friends who lost much more than that and about their families.   I thought about my sister who is a Navy pilot and about the friends she has lost and about their families.

Then I thought about a man interviewed on KCRW this morning in Japan who lost his house and his boat and his lively hood and all his belongings but who was laughing and smiling.  “We all lived” he happily stated, referring to his family and friends.  “There are more important things to think about than what was lost.”

Is whether or not I look Jewish or Italian or like a Mom or if I write my blog or if you read it even important at all?  Now that I’m thinking about global issues it all seems pretty inconsequential.  Is it narrow of me to write daily and not mention the enormous catastrophes happening around the world.   I searched my conscience.

I don’t think the point of allowing ourselves to connect to the stories we hear is to then belittle the things that mean something to us.   I’m assuming that if you are reading this,  you weren’t blinded in Iraq by a roadside bomb and that all of your life’s belongings weren’t lost in the Tsunami.  Even if they were, you are here now.  If you are here with me now, then today is “Alive Day” for both of us and THAT is worth celebrating!   It is also worth spending the precious time we have with purpose and positivity.   After all, there are more important things to think about than what has been lost.

I hope that you take it all in with a light heart, give what you can, stay positive, and pass a smile along to someone you encounter today.   I’ll do my best to do the same 🙂

Love and Light,


That’s my cat O’Joe who brings me great joy.

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