Dating : Anthony Bordain

h2>Dating : Anthony Bordain

Richard Noar

Last year I wrote a little thing about how I came to discover Anthony Bourdain, I ended up working on it a while ago. Here’s the new version.

I remember growing up I would always hear people speak with a nose in the air attitude about how bad tv was and how they didn’t even have a tv and just read books and shoved their finger up their ass and smelled it. I fucking get it, books are awesome and plenty of us should be making more time for reading something that isn’t some kind of click bait article. But nothing is ever that simple, tv was not bad, they were just too lazy to find the good stuff, or maybe they just didn’t have cable? When I was little my favorite channels besides Nickelodeon and Comedy Central were Sci-fi, TLC, and Discovery channel. I learned so much about animals, how things worked and about the Sasquatch. So maybe Sci-fi didn’t teach me about anything useful, but it did give me an irrational fear of being abducted by The Greys. I remember there was a show in particular that I loved called Mega Movie Magic, where it broke down special effects in movies. That was always my argument, how can tv be bad if I’m learning something?

One day a channel came along that was very special to me and many of you I’m sure, the Food Network! This was always my go-to when crappy reality shows started taking over the other networks. This is where I was blown away by Good Eats, it was like Food Network and Discovery had a baby! I found out how to make delicious things and learn at the same time! Then there is the notorious Guy Fieri who I was rooting for from the beginning because he was from Santa Rosa where I had lived a good chunk of my life. I was super stoked that in his introduction clip they showed the fairgrounds by my old house. Then they branded him like a fucking cattle and things got wacky, but damn it, that man is some of the best damned meme material I’ve ever seen! And to tell the truth he seems like a genuinely awesome Guy (try to hate him after watching him on Hot Ones) so feel free to hatehatehate on me, but I stand by my words.

There was someone in particular of course that changed the fucking game. The man that lit the game on fire with a match then pissed on the ashes. You already know who I’m talking about, Anthony Bourdain. Seeing him for the first time was a very pivotal moment in my life. Some guy that had an “I don’t give a fuck” attitude and a Stooges shirt, but also loved to cook and loved to eat the same way I did was something totally new to me. Food wasn’t cool, cooking didn’t up the punx. But here was some gangly guy with a cigarettes on his lip like James Dean taunting me with a bad assness saying these things are cool as fuck. It gave me some kind of validation for my love of food and cooking. I had spikey hair, a leather jacket full of studs and yellow steel toe boots, so you BET I didn’t need no validation, especially not from some ADULT! But god damned if it didn’t make me feel good knowing this guy was into these things more than I was. My sea urchin like exterior had some very soft insides, and he made my insides feel warm and fuzzy.

I will never forget the moment I first came across him. When I think about this moment I am transported to my bedroom in high school, I had a futon that was my bed, I had a big cd player/boombox on my bookshelf, I had this thing that held all my skateboards, band posters on the wall, I’m sure you can imagine. I mean it’s what every fucking teenager’s room that was some kind of outsider looked like since the dawn of time. Just imagine the cave paintings in Flintstones times, same shit different bands. I was probably about 17 and I had one of those “bedtimes” and mine was around 11PM. It never mattered because I could never fall asleep anyways. Anxiety is a bitch, and how can you fall asleep when you’re thinking about that weird thing you said in 3rd grade?

I was flipping through the channels one particular night and I did so in a very special way. I would have the closed captioning on and the volume super low, I even went so far as to turn the brightness down on the TV so if my parents happened into the hallway they wouldn’t know I was still up. I changed the channel to Food Network thinking that maybe Good Eats was on. When I landed on the channel within forty five seconds I heard a word bleeped out. Insert a cartoon head shake sound effect (if there’s a name for this, please tell me!). Am I on Food Network? No one gets bleeped out on here, why would they have someone cursing? Maybe I’m on the wrong channel? I turn it back and double check, yeah, it’s Food Network. I watch absolutely intrigued, wait a minute, does this guy have on a Stooges shirt on? No, that can’t be right, no he fucking totally does, the fuck? Maybe he doesn’t know who they are like its just something his producers made him wear. Rachel on Friends had on an MC5 and a Ramones shirt on at some point so it’s not crazy right? But he’s also in dirty jeans and boots… Damn, they are bleeping this guy out a lot, this is insane. A commercial break comes on, and before the show returns I’m greeted with a “This show contains mature material, parental discretion is advised” No fucking shit! Is this Food Network after hours? How are they allowed to do this? Hah! He just made a fart joke, this guy fucking rules, what the hell am I watching? Holy shit, he just made a dick joke, and it was good! HOLY SHIT HE JUST LITERALLY ATE A DICK! This guy just ate a bulls balls and dick, and he pulled off the “Tastes like chicken.” joke too. It shouldn’t be funny, but it is! I am charmed, I am enamored and I am ready to drink his kool-aid!

When the show ended I was baffled, did I just have some kind of fever dream? I had no idea what I watched when it normally came on or who this guy was. I waited with my fingers crossed hoping another episode was going to be on, then I had a brilliant idea if I flip to the tv guide channel I can catch what I had watched, but it was too late. It had already flipped to 1230. Does anyone born after 2000 have any idea what I’m talking about when I say TV guide channel? I guess it needs an explanation, back when we used a fucking chisel to write into blocks of stone we would have to put on a channel that had a slowly scrolling list of everything that was on tv for the next three hours. And don’t you dare fucking sneeze when the channel you wanted to see comes up or you just might miss it and have to wait another two minutes! Hoping I would get lucky I flipped back to Food Network maybe if I was lucky there would be a second episode, but this wasn’t Iron Chef, there wasn’t any back to back episodes, so I was met with the likes of Rachel Ray or someone similar.

Instead of getting any sleep though I lay on my back replaying what I had just seen. It’s difficult to imagine that this guy was the first to do what he did. We live in a world of food shows hosted by Action Bronson, Eddie Huang, and David Chang or shows like Epic Meal Time and many many more. It’s a long way from Julia Childs and Yan Can Cook. The wildest thing on a cooking show was Guy Fieri wearing sunglasses on the back of his head doing turbocharged jalapeno poppers or Alton Brown making a slightly inappropriate joke on his show. There was no bite in food TV and fuck, no one was calling people “foodies” because they liked shit that wasn’t McDonald’s.

The world needed someone like Anthony Bourdain to show how rebellious food and cooking was, and not just in general, but encompassing the world. Guess what, people love the same foods you do all over the world, they just use different ingredients and different parts of the animal. I truly believe anyone who watched his show was brought together with people without having any clue. I think the generation that grew up with Anthony want people of all kinds of backgrounds in their neighborhood because they know the food will get a hell of a lot better! How can you not be more understanding of someone else’s culture when they have your mouth watering with their unique fruit, their exotic spices or just the simple fact that they love to sit down and tell jokes while drinking a beer waiting for food to cook? He really made me feel like we could solve all the world’s problems with sharing each other’s food.

When I found out about his passing I immediately denied it, great another stupid celebrity death joke, haha, why would someone pick him as the target though. Then I had a few people post it, then I read some articles, I really tried to hold out. Then I saw that it indeed was real. I remember finding out at work and just trying to suck it in. How could the passing of someone I never met hurt as much as a good friend? Then I thought about how long he had been in my life, I watched all his shows, read his books even read the comic book he helped with. He had been a fixture in my life for as long as my closest friends, and through all these s I essentially spent a lot of my time with him. And it wasn’t just me, it was pretty much all my friends sometimes we watched him together or talked about episodes.

I always fantasized about writing him a letter or maybe meeting him at a book signing and telling him how I discovered him. I like to think he would get a good laugh out of it, I would also like to think I would have been able to tell the story coherently without gushing a little when talking to him. I also like to fantasize about the idea of heaven and Anthony Bourdain finding it too boring and going down to hell, so he can hang out with Lemmy and Bowie and grossing them out when he eats Spam musubi and says how damned good it is.

What do you think?

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