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© Robert Sommers 2018

Friday, June 8, 2018

Enough was enough.

I was shocked and saddened to hear about the suicide of Anthony Bourdain.

He was a glib, funny, acerbic, smart guy with an amazing head on his shoulders.

Had it seemingly all going for him but maybe wasn't totally comfortable living in the public role he had carved out for himself. Word is that he fought clinical depression.

I read Kitchen Confidential when it came out, loved his deft portrayal of a New York food scene that I had caught a little bit by osmosis in my younger days. Brash, punk, blessed with a searing cynicism, I will never forget the part where he complains to the fry cook boss in Provincetown about a burn and the guy grabs a red hot pan right in front of him, with his bare hand, looks him straight in the eye, like, shut up, you big pussy. You are in a man's arena now.

Playing Grateful Dead music in Bourdain's kitchen was grounds for immediate dismissal. New York street punk through and through. Did I watch him or listen to him? Hardly ever. Probably envy and jealousy more than anything. He was taller, handsomer, more articulate than I, had all the cards break his way. Would have loved a gig like his.

But in the end it just wasn't enough for him and he wrote himself out of the script.

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Was thinking about him on my hike today and the suicides I have known in my life. Got it in my bloodlines. Two grandparents, one on each side. Pesa took a fatal overdose of pills when I was seven, supposedly when confronted by my grandfather's serial infidelity. Martin turned the gas on after he lost his wife, my grandmother who I never met, to a cerebral hemorrhage. The furrier business had hit the skids, people were wearing that polyester stuff now.

Like his grandson, fated to be the last great buggy whip salesmen in an age of four door coupes.

Mark was the public relations head of Infinity Records. So handsome he could walk in and instantly nail any woman he chose at the bar. But found the one woman he couldn't have and did himself in.

Al had more money than anybody I knew. A great family. It wasn't enough.

Ron had a disfiguring medical problem. A gay man, he couldn't stand not being physically perfect.

This world can present a great deal of misery to an empathetic or feeling person. There obviously becomes a point where enough is enough. Doesn't have to be a big traumatic event. Attrition wins on occasion, death by a thousand paper cuts the tipping point to an early demise.

I have had a lot of people tell me that I remind them of Bourdain over the years. He and I were a year apart. I used to get Jeff Goldblum sometimes too. Not sure why? But I think in many ways Anthony and I were a lot alike. I saw my best and worst qualities in him, at times he was just too cute and wry and maybe I experienced a little self loathing when I watched him. And I also suffer from periodic depression.

Remember a few years ago when that Real Housewives of Atlanta producer screen tested me for the show where I would buy antiques and antiquities all over the world? She eventually cut the cord. I never should have said that I demanded that everything be on the up and up. How dumb of me.

I wonder how my life would have changed if I got the gig? Probably not for the better.

Killing yourself is probably the quick and easy part. The slow and damaging part is what your decision does to those you leave behind. The ultimate in selfishness, but unfortunately some of us are.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Should've done a show about giving all of his money away to help other people, and then offed himself in the end, or not...
I feel sorry for the his 11 year old daughter...

Anonymous said...

You are what you eat......