Friday, June 8, 2018

On Anthony Bourdain.

“Life is complicated. It’s filled with nuance. It’s unsatisfying. If I believe in anything, it is doubt. The root cause of all life’s problems is looking for a simple fucking answer.”

- Anthony Bourdain (1956 - 2018)

I remember watching this dude on TV and thinking, “Damn. He seems cooler than the other side of the pillow.” I dug the way he treated people the same regardless of their position. He listened to the short order cook in a Bangkok dive with just as much interest as he did Barack Obama. I always thought that was dope.


I met him once during those years when I used to do segments with CNN. He was good and famous by then. And though I don’t watch a ton of television, I’d seen his show more than enough times to know that fan-girling over him wouldn't be necessary. I was waiting for my segment and he walked through the room where I was. When he saw me, he was exactly the non-diva that I imagined he'd be. He paused, shook my hand and said, “Hey. Anthony.” And I nodded and said my name in return. He looked to be in a hurry but I said I liked the show. Because I did like the show. He stopped, looked at me, smiled and said, “Hey thanks.” Then he pointed at my hair and said, “Joining the silver fox club, huh? Welcome!” We both laughed and he walked out. And that was the time I met Anthony Bourdain.


That was like 5 years ago. I had just started letting my grey hair come in so him pointing it out was pretty damn observant. And he wasn’t being even remotely fresh. He just saw me. And acknowledged me. Which was cool.

Turns out I was right. That dude really was cooler than the other side of the pillow. I’m glad he noticed people and lived so voraciously. I’m glad he got to break bread with people all over the world and that he looked at me not through me when I encountered him that day. I’m sad to hear of his death.

It's cliché to say things like, "No matter how rich or fulfilled you seem, that won't make you happy." So I won't say that. Instead I'll just say that I'm thankful that Mr. Bourdain--I mean, "Anthony"-- shared so much of his world and this world with so many people. And though he lost his life to suicide, I think his life included a lot of joy. I've learned from living and watching and listening that we all have parts unknown. Happiness is an everchanging spectrum. Sometimes light and darkness dwell together. It isn't just one or the other.

And it's complicated.

Thinking of every person I know who has ever been affected by suicide. I know this has been a tough week. You’re all in my thoughts, okay? I mean that.

Happy Friday. And rest well, my fellow silver fox.


  1. He really did seem to truly engage with all of the people on his show. And the places. And he was an advocate for so many. Women, the people who actually run all of the restaurants who are generally immigrants, often illegal, those who have been the victims of war. It's like he had a huge sense of empathy and responsibility and fairness. I sure am glad he got to meet you.

  2. The world is darker without him. Thank you for your wonderful post.

  3. Depression is a dangerous disease. It's so sad that he took his life but I can understand the pain.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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