The following op-ed, responding to the death of chef, author, and TV host Anthony Bourdain, is written by former Vanguard and current Snack Boys chef/owner Shay Linkus. Milwaukee Record would still like to add that if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks—on your body or on your heart—are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt. — Anthony Bourdain
Our hero is gone. Where do we go from here? When does it stop? Depression is a beast that we ride in the dark, behind the closed doors that no one wants to open. Hiding in plain sight, exposing its teeth and latching on to one after another. “Give us a show!” they yell from the seats. But no one wants to see the clowns cry. So they don’t and they never will!
Anthony made us feel like we were somebody. He lead a revolution without throwing one stone. My life is easily accredited to that worn-out book I read in one sitting. He taught me that accolades mean nothing. Awards are futile gestures and egos have a way of defining us. To assume that we are made of steel and can battle through the toughest of times and pull our selves up from the depths of hell to be celebrated and revered is a waste of breath. Because, on your way up the demons have a way of holding on. Staying tucked away and polished, reminding you, in privacy, that everything you’ve done has no real purpose. They wait for their chance every night and every morning. Subtle gestures at every glance to say give up and end it.
I, like so many other people, have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. Every time I look at my phone, I feel a moment of failure and chaos is a sentence away. To be constantly surrounded by sadness and trying to be the better person and remain strong is a burden without end. But I survive knowing that I am loved. Luckily I have a son who helps me see a brighter future. Not everyone has that beacon, so even if it’s the people who make me pizza, or roll my burrito, they seem to be happy to see me and I’ll always shoot them a smile and feel good walking in and out of the mundane parts of life. It’s an easy reminder that it’s not over yet.
That being said…People can post numbers for hotlines but what the fuck does that do? How absent and futile of a gesture is that. If you feel alone and at war with this world, what dumb fucking response would “call a hotline” do? How about taking some time and asking how a person is doing? This isn’t saying you can prevent it or even know that someone is going to take their own life. It’s a tragic end that only one person can decide. It just doesn’t hurt to let someone know that they aren’t alone. I’m always here for the inhabitants of the Island of Misfit Toys. The broken dolls and the busted jack-in-the-box are the ones I love the most. They have a story to tell and I would love to hear it.