What Dreams May Come, When We Have Shuffled Off This Mortal Coil, Must Give Us pause.”
Acerbic and humble, focused and irreverent, demanding of his directors, though completely open to their input. It was CNN’s most challenging and engaging material. Now, possibly-posthumously known as : “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Now Explored”.
His death, an apparent suicide, hit me like a hammer.
It colored and dictated my day — in all and every aspect since my initial realization that a person who so honestly and fearlessly offered the entirety of himself, with no agenda other than what should be discovered, reciprocally, honestly and without fear, is now gone.
His light is extinguished. And I am now (officially) old enough to have witnessed one of my true heroes die. Or, as Shakespeare eluded, :”…shuffled off this mortal coil.” Granted, the Bard was referring to a particularly heinous murder, yet the end-result is no less shocking or unsettling.
I “knew” Bourdain only from his wild and racy, batshit-insane memoir of his time in the culinary battle-royale that defined NYC cuisine in the early 90s. And, of course, the landmark contribution(s) that eventually redefined TV’s presentation of the subtle and obvious connection of culture, lifestyle and the simple need and desire of food, and the deeper human connection that simple act of sharing a meal represents and inspires with ease and commonalty. And free of fear.
I watched his CNN show religiously, in part due to my obsession/infatuation with him and my own constant, and driving requirement to travel and explore this amazing world as often as I am able, but how he did what he did. No ego. No sense of superiority — and unlike the Rick Steves of the travel world (no offense!), he just fucking dove in head-first, no toe-testing, into the deepest, darkest, coldest places, culturally — and made friends everywhere due to his unquenchable appetite for his fellow humans, their culture, their history.
I am equal parts sympathetic and very angry with his apparent choice to take his life. At some point I know I will favor the sympathetic understanding and acceptance of his tragic decision. But, I will remain angry and destitute as I feel his presence is required now more than ever. Of course, I cannot know what was happening with him and his life, though I sincerely wish I could.