Anthony Bourdain: Soul Food.

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I used to worry about his health.

Every time I’d serendipitously find that show of his, he’d be eating like a goddamn teenager. Some sort of third-world meat, followed by more meat, with noodles, beer, and sake. Voiced over deliciously with subtle smugness and a side of self deprecation. And then, of course, a nightcap with old restaurant friends in a place like Okinawa or some other city he seemed to have the keys to.

In the morning, as you know, he’d wake up, eat an egg-based seafood dish in a market that looked like it was in “Blade Runner,” and after the next commercial, he’d get a new tattoo and then head over to a barbecue where no one knew English but spoke wine well.

And there I was on the couch, always thinking variations of, “Jeez, how does that bastard stay so thin? I just hope it doesn’t catch up to this guy.” But now, none of that matters.

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.

Now, I just hope he enjoyed every morsel and every drop. It’s sort of the same with my Dad. In our family of four, he’d eat enough for a family of four and I’d plead with him to be more careful with his weight. I was so scared it would lead him to an early grave and we’d fight about it constantly.

But here I now sit, late one night in June, the month of my dad’s birth (as well Anthony’s), and I’m just so glad he got so much pleasure from his bagels cut into three slices, and his swiss cheese and onion omelettes—because it ended up meaning nothing. Brain cancer doesn’t give a f*ck about your diet.

Imagine if I could have known how it was all going to end? Imagine if I could just get back the time with him I wasted fighting about food? But the truth is, I knew how it was going to end. Not exactly. But I know how it ends for everyone.

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.

You’d think this, and this alone, would make us want to be more kind. More kind to ourselves, more kind to others, and more kind to animals. But it doesn’t.

We live selfishly, as if we’re all that matters, with almost no love for our neighbors. And maybe this lack of love we feel in the world, although not self-described on the inside that way because it feels more like an overwhelming, undefined darkness of not-enoughness, pushes us to eventually pull our own plugs—regardless of how great we seem to have it on the outside.

What does this have to do with my dad dying and how I handled it before, during, and after? Nothing. Thankfully nothing. I was a good son.

But, as you know if you’ve read my stuff, almost everything gets traced back to my dad nowadays. And I know that he knew that I was just looking out for him. As he did for me. As we should for each other.

With that said, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything, so I thank you for trading your time for my words. And, if you’re one of the few reading this right now, I know you have nothing to learn from me about kindness. I’m sure you’re already there.

So, thank you for that as well.

love/thanks, gb   

author: Gabe Berman

Image: YouTube

Editor: Lieselle Davidson

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Gabe Berman

Gabe Berman is a photographer, philosopher, coffee drinker, and author of the Deepak Chopra endorsed book “Live Like A Fruit Fly—The Secret You Already Know.” Connect with Gabe here.

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