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Born in Kuwait circa 2015 when the Kuwaiti government was endorsing lethal gunshot and poisoning as forms of animal control, #vannawhite was amongst the few lucky #felines who were rescued by an incredible group of American animal rights activists. Upon Vanna’a arrival to the US, she was fostered by an #Amish family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Yarden came across Vanna’s adoption advertisement on the #PAWS website while she was applying to #medschool; a time of utmost stress and uncertainty.
As told by Dr. Yarden Cohen…
“I remember driving home from Pennsylvania with Vanna curled up in the front seat. I told her everything about my life and who I was. I told her all about my former cats, about my family, about my passions, my goals, my dreams and, of course, about my favorite TV show, #wheeloffortune
She didn’t meow once.
“A few months later Vanna and I were on the airplane to #Grenada for what would be the most challenging 2 years of my life. I don’t know how I would have made it through that time without her. Vanna has been there with me through some of the most difficult days of my life and though I don’t argue that she understands the English language or that she embodies the ability to think and act with human rationale, I do believe she has learned, through associating behavior and outcome, the practice of #companionship and the art of #unyielding #compassion“. She is the very #best. Thank you my little #kittenmitten my little Vanna Banana White Cohen.”
After many years of doing background work in between poetry tours I am happy to report, I have earned my SAG card. I am extremely grateful I was able to make a living (primarily) as a poet performing in colleges and theaters these past 10 years with MayhemPoets keeping me grounded, humble and whole and thankful for the generosity afforded to me both on the road and while on sets.
I’ve had some memorable experiences and some easily forgettable ones, where I was simply fed (and paid) to listen to podcasts, write sonnets and read obscure non-fiction I didn’t quite understand.*
We are all aware of the elitism that often comes from SAG toward Non-Union and the frustrations of 10 sometimes 12 or more hour days spent swimming inside a segregated pool of the waived and unwaived. Sometimes catching one on the right day is a stroke of luck and sometimes a stroke of genius. Just know Union or Non, many of you are ridiculously talented. Don’t you forget it, your butterfly will reach the sky!
Others, who may be crawling along at various points in any of the above lanes, learn how to stay in the pool and stay afloat, hopefully engaged in some other semi-related aquatic sport (especially when tides are low).
If you choose to leave the water, let’s say move to a land-locked country cabin with the love of your life, shoot to be each other’s star and capture the most picaresque moments for yourselves. And if you still feel the need to soak yourself in stardust, there’s always the community pool.
Perhaps as time passes you find yourself hovering round the kiddie pool, cheering on your Lil Louganis before he or she reaches a new Age of Aquarius. Be supportive, but let your budding Summer Sanders find her own lane, build her own castles. It’s okay to keep your feet wet, but try and keep your Hair out the water while your son or daughter catches breaks.
And to those goggley-eyed, chlorinated clueless newbies, some fortunate enough to ride the big kahuna to the starry shores, you may have somethings to teach, but you still have lots to learn. There may be no lifeguard in live theater, but double take your time if you have to, remember to breathe, then dive in when you are ready from head to toe.
Back on land if you have 12 hours to spend with strangers, sure, make friends but also work. If they don’t want to or have yet to use you, use your time to finish that web-series, polish that screenplay, rehearse that monologue. Take hold of holding and fill in the gaps with beautiful creations all your own.
*Read about some of my on-set experiences in my new collection of stories and poems, “6 Piece-Chicken,” coming in April. (This is a first draft of a longer post)
Woke up to kind of smell the roses as I went to the ear, nose and throat doc yesterday
to imperfectly hear some of the same options I’ve kinda heard countless times before…
“Yes, your septum is severely deviated and you have less than 25% breathing through your left nostril. Now I could perform ssurgery, but because of your exceedingly small nasal passages, there’s a strong chance your right nostril will then become a problem and well, you’ll be back to square one.”
Just not a square one that’s equal on all sides
or the same from all angles and made from the image of G-d.
Oh, to have a fully functioning, easy breathy, beautiful under-inflated stated, straight as an arrow schnaz.
‘What are my options?
“Well Scott, you can just deal with it. I too am a mouth breather and know how you feel. You can try breathe-right strips, nightly saline solutions and this here prescription, but none of these will permanently correct your problem. Or you can get a brand new nose, but it will cost you an arm and a leg.”
Really? One sparkly and smooth new appendage to lose two doesn’t sound fair to me.
My doctor recommends a plastic surgeon who can perform a complete rhinoplasty uncovered by insurance in the realm of 10-20k,
so I deep breathe (through my mouth) and leave.
Click for how my NOSE came to be.
The following poems appear in Sconnettts 51 Shakespearean Sonnets now available to purchase through PayPal and Amazon.
11. Inanimate Intimacy From An Inability To Move
In love with the inanimate object
of my affection, like a C-section
changed to an E-section from an abject
incision of hit and misdirection.
Just like painted mirrors lack reflection
she’s chosen to avoid a position
of transition blindly disrespecting
nearly everything i’m wishing.
Two drawings you saw in teen magazines
of stick figures standing toothpicks apart,
we’re trapped in freeze frames of etch-a-sketch scenes
where the artist is armless and can’t start.
Meanest de Milo, most unable to
shake things up for us to embrace the view.
40a. Schwarzeneggerean Sonnet
My mistress’ eyes are everything like my son.
Clorox far more clear than my head was here,
if Maria comes home early, I’m done.
If beds are made, my dear Mildred is near.
I have seen sheets dirtied then quickly cleaned,
but a housekeeper with dirty secrets,
this Last Action Hero has never seen.
Raw Deal on 80 thread count of regret.
Commando slept around without much thought.
Get down from the washer! Will I be back?
Kindergarten Copped a feel and got caught.
Running Man’s movie career now off track,
while Shriver has been put through the dryer,
even True Lies, still make me a liar.