The highlights of this week’s Adventures have been:
President Trump Acts Like A Shitgibbon.
I Get My First Facebook Post Deleted
Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade Commit Suicide
I’ve never actually watched Anthony Bourdain’s shows. I recognized his picture. I knew he did food shows. But, I have no personal connection to Anthony Bourdain. Or Kate Spade.
I do have a personal connection to suicide. It’s a constant companion to me. I have flirted with thoughts of it for most of my life, and I started a more committed relationship with it in June of 2012. This week in June of 2012, incidentally.
So, while I don’t know anything about Kate Spade’s fashion line or Anthony Bourdain’s food shows, I give a shit about them. I care because they decided to do something that I have frequently thought about doing.
I might not relate to the pressures of celebrity, but holy shit do I know something about the pressures of just living in a world that constantly sucks.
If you parse Anthony Bourdain’s public statements, you get a picture of a guy who really Gives A Shit about the world around him. Gave A Shit, that is.
Take for instance this quote about a visit to Gaza:
“I was enormously grateful for the response from Palestinians, in particular, for doing what seemed to me an ordinary thing, something we do all the time: show regular people doing everyday things. … The world has visited many terrible things on the Palestinian people, none more shameful than robbing them of their basic humanity. People are not statistics. That is all we attempted to show.”
Or, this quote about after being offered a warthog’s butthole to eat in Namibia:
“What am I going to do, refuse him, embarrass him in front of his people, look ungrateful? That changes the whole tenor of the relationship. I mean, when somebody’s offering you food, they’re telling you a story. They’re telling you what they like, who they are. Presumably, it’s a proud reflection of their culture, their history, often a very tough history. You turn your nose up at that important moment, the whole relationship changes, and it will never be the same.”
(You can check out these quotes, and others at this link.)
(And, lest you think that I’ve forgotten, you can see some cool Kate Spade quotes about travel and personal empowerment of women.)
I can’t tell you why these two brave and beautiful souls decided to shuffle off this mortal coil. I can’t tell you that it’s because the world sucks so bad right now, or that the world has sucked for a little while longer than the last two years.
I can tell you that my thoughts of suicide have increased since we our nation started really, publicly shitting on immigrants.
Or since videos of police shooting loads of innocent people became part of my social media timeline.
Or since President Trump… did anything.
Again, who really knows why people kill themselves? Mental health is probably a better indicator than overall World Suckage. Alcohol and drugs definitely don’t help. Access to guns is part of the problem.
But, how do we live in a world that is so intent on being awful?
I humbly suggest that we stop being happy.
Seriously, let’s not worry about being happy anymore. Let’s Embrace the Suck, a lesson that I was taught on the streets of Ramadi, Iraq.
Life isn’t a series of really joyful events rudely interrupted by awfulness.
Life is really a series of fucking awful episodes that are pleasantly punctuated by moments of joy.
If we have any hope of living in this world, we need to embrace the idea that life mostly sucks – then suck in all the joy that we find.
You might think Anthony Bourdain’s death is tragic, but the man traveled the world. He saw some of the worst places and conditions on Earth, but he always found a way to eat food and enjoy good company. The world didn’t suck less for him than it does for others. He just decided that joy didn’t require a perfect world, or even a good world.
Joy requires an embrace of the suffering and hard work that life demands. Joy requires a purpose that doesn’t rely on happiness.
I might die tomorrow or in 50 years. My cause of death might be old age, illness, or even suicide. (That day is not today, Dear Readers, so don’t worry about me in the moment.)
When I go, no matter how I choose to go, it will be after a life of being compassionate, helpful, funny, intelligent, well-read, and well-fed.
I have no intention of chasing happiness, no matter how bright and shiny a treasure it is. It’s illusive. It’s destructive. It’s impossible to ever achieve.
There are things that are far better than happiness, and far easier to experience.
Here’s to Anthony Bourdain. Here’s to Kate Spade. Here’s to the tens of thousands of Americans who will take their own life this year.
Someone loves you. Someone misses you. We’ll try to make a world that sucks a little less.
If you want help with suicidal thoughts, here are some resources
From Canada or US: If you’re in an emergency, please call 911
You can contact the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Test Line by texting HOME to 741741
Young people in need of help can call Kids Help Phone on 1-800-668-6868
If you are in the UK, you can call the Samaritans on 116123
Here’s a fun video to watch that doesn’t suck
Coming Soon: Why Your Comments After a Suicide Are Unhelpful