A Friday morning seems so much like others until it’s not. Breezing through my Twitter timeline I became disturbed when a post that came across contained a headline that I never thought I would read, “Anthony Bourdain, 61, dead.” I was taken aback. This was not what I expected at 7:40 am.
“This can’t be real.” I thought. I looked at the source, CNN. “Fuck, this is real.”
It has become hard for the death of celebrity to bring pain to me in today’s world. In 2016 we saw a myriad of deaths including many great artists who’s influence will probably see no end. But death, especially of those that we admire, comes at some point. Whether we like it or not. It’s with that that I found the sting of reading of Anthony Bourdain’s death more painful than others.
When I first came across Bourdain’s No Reservations many years ago he immediately struck me as a larger than life character that I could grasp onto every word of his ethos. He inspired me. I of course became a fan of his many other TV shows along with his writing.
At first I wanted to be Tony but very soon after I realized that wasn’t the case. I needed to be me. Anthony Bourdain inspired me to be me. I can’t speak or write like Anthony Bourdain but I sure can speak and write like me. He inspired me with a confidence to be me and put myself out there more and to, more or less, not give a fuck what others think about you. Sure I can say that he inspired me to travel and eat better food but that all would be nothing if he didn’t help me find who I am to myself.
My girlfriend, Ali, as well has an amazing admiration for Bourdain. Our first Christmas together my Mom had asked me what she should get Ali for Christmas. Tony’s cookbook, Appetites, had recently come out and I knew that she had wanted it so I told my Mom to get that for her. I admit that it was a somewhat selfish gift as I too wanted this and figured we would at least have the book between the two of us. Fast forward to Christmas morning when Ali and I exchange gifts, before seeing our families, I am shocked to find that Ali had gotten me a copy of Appetites. We now have 2 copies of the book in our house sitting right next to one another.
It’s been nearly 7 years since I have felt so strongly about the passing of someone in the public eye. Losing Christopher Hitchens from this world hurt but I must say that this one hurts a bit more.
People all morning have been calling him an idol or hero. Was he this to me? Maybe. I’m not really one for those words because I feel like if you make someone a hero or idol you can only set yourself up to be disappointed by them at some point. No one is perfect so, to me, no one is an idol. Unfortunately Tony’s downfall seemed to have been the last thing he did.
Along with the sadness of losing such an influential person I would be remiss without mentioning how he reportedly went out, suicide. No matter how great someone may be at painting the world as a beautiful place there may be a good deal of darkness in that person’s world as well. A mastery of storytelling does not mean it is easy to talk about one’s own problems. I can only hope that this lose can help motivate more people that may be having thoughts of suicide that there are people that care about you and want to help. Please know that and know that there are people to talk to.
Anthony Bourdain was an amazing entertainer–a storyteller unlike any of this generation. He was, no scratch that. He is an inspiration to many around the world. He was also human, the thing that we all can relate to him on. Life can be tough but you never have to go at it alone.
I will certainly be raising a glass of beer to Tony’s memory today. I’ll probably make something from his cookbook too. I’ll share it with someone I love. We will laugh. We will smile. We will tell stories. Exactly how Tony would have.