When I heard the news of Anthony Bourdain’s death I felt sadness. I can’t say I was surprised. If you ever watched Parts Unknown, his excellent show on CNN, you’ll remember how many times Bourdain talked about his demons. His bouts with addiction, his self doubt, and his depressive tendencies. Bourdain’s tragic suicide creates a gaping hole in the souls of the people he leaves behind. His death is also a tragic blow for those of us in the cross-cultural arena who looked at Tony as somewhat of a hero. To me he was a friend I wish I had. A travel buddy to explore the world with. GQ magazine calls him “the most interesting man in the world“. To me he represented the child-like curiosity so many of us lose as we become adults.
Anthony Bourdain just did. He may have thought about his actions first and in the end (at least as his TV persona) he simply did. He lived. Perhaps more than any of us ever will.
And he introduced his audience to foreign and unfamiliar worlds. Via the vehicle he knew best: food. To me he was the man who made haute cuisine less pretentious and who recreated travel television into cross-cultural excursions through people and their food traditions. Bourdain broke down stereotypes and cultural myths by showcasing real people from all corners of the world. He showed how they lived, how they cooked, and how they ate. He listened and he asked questions. He came from a place of genuine interest. To me he was a role model of a person with cultural competence.
Be more like Tony. Cook a meal. Open a bottle. Sit down with family and friends. Talk.
On June 7, 2018 Anthony Bourdain packed his last suitcase. He will be missed.
Anthony Bourdain was a dad. One of the very men in our lives who teach us about life, the value of hard work, the beauty in pushing your own boundaries, and the meaning of family.
So what can we do to help? First, take it seriously. Over half of all people who attempt suicide tell someone about their intention. Don’t be afraid to ask questions whether the person is considering taking their life. These questions will not push them towards suicide if they were not considering it. Don’t try to talk them out of it by pleading or preaching, instead let them know you care and they can get help. Often suicidal people feel like they can’t be helped, so encourage professional help and if you can assist them to find a mental health professional and set up an appointment. If the person is threatening, or talking about specific plans, this is a crisis requiring immediate attention. Do not leave this person alone. Remove any firearms, drugs, or sharp objects that could be used. Take the person to a walk in psychiatric hospital or hospital emergency room.
If those options are not available, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention LifeLine at 1-800-273-8255 for assistance.
– Christian Höferle
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