Anthony Bourdain

While I’ve been trying to put into words my feelings regarding Anthony Bourdain’s death, Rob Sheffield at Rolling Stone has written a wonderful obituary. I’m reminded too of this profile of Bourdain last year in the New Yorker.

I don’t use personal social media anymore, but early this morning I logged into the magazine’s account to check something and saw that a friend had posted a photo of Bourdain with the caption “Goddammit.” I thought she was saying “Goddmamit, Anthony Bourdain is a handsome man.” It was a good-looking picture.

Only an hour later, after I’d read some fiction and as I was getting ready to go to the gym, did I receive the news alert. I did not go to the gym. Instead I walked to the office and listened to Bob Dylan and the Mountain Goats.

When I was in my early twenties, working at a Ruby Tuesday in Ohio, hating every minute of it, knowing I had to get out but knowing also that getting out would mean so much more than just quitting a job at a reastaurant, would mean expulsion from my entire family and social network, Kitchen Confidential, ironically, was instrumental in getting me through it all. The book inspired me to write my first novel, Brand-Changing Day. And the short-lived Bradly Cooper-staring television show was one of the most personally entertaining things I’d ever seen—I watched each episode more than once.

One of my first jiu-jitsu teachers had the privilledge of training with Bourdain when he came through Bozeman, Montana, a few years ago. I heard great stories. I thought I might get to roll with him someday too. If I had, I would have thanked him for living such a passionate life.