A Life Lived Passionately

Reflections triggered by Anthony Bourdain’s suicide

Image for post
Image for post

My candle burns at both ends;

It will not last the night;

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends —

It gives a lovely light! ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

“Anthony Bourdain has the best job on earth.” That’s what I would tell my wife whenever we watched Parts Unknown. To be able to travel so much and explore the world’s cultures and cuisine in such depth seemed like a dream come true to me, as I’m sure it did for millions of others who took great pleasure living vicariously through Bourdain’s CNN program.

Like so many others, I am dumbstruck by the news this morning that Bourdain is gone. Some celebrities come into our living rooms with enough regularity that we overlook the fact that we don’t really know them. Their personalities and experiences are so captivating that we forget we are only spectators rather than participants. Very rarely a kind of kinship develops that makes it especially easy to dismiss the relationship’s one-sidedness. With Bourdain, I could always easily imagine I was sitting at the table breaking bread and drinking wine with him, which is how I think he wanted it.

A little bit of envy was always part of the recipe when watching Parts Unknown. It added a bit of flavor to the experience. But waking up this morning to the news of Bourdain’s death in Paris is a reminder that our demons don’t discriminate. Wealth and fame are no protection against them, whatever form they may take.

Anthony, you brought a lot of joy to people’s lives. You shared parts of the world with us most of us will never be able to visit and did it in a way most of us could never possibly experience. Thank you. You will be greatly missed.

Suicide prevention lifeline 1–800–273–8255

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store