Saturday, June 30, 2018

For Anthony Bourdain

I can explain suicide to you. It's as simple as an analog TV's antennae. 

Some people are lucky--the manufacturer delivers the set, and it's ready to watch out of the box. The antennae stick up in exactly the right places, making it easier to stay close to home. 

Others, not so lucky. Their antenna needs adjusting for a clear picture, or they'll receive only static. Most of the time, though, it works, so life goes on. 

And the rest? Companies call them defective, defying perfect QC. Ones who kept these TVs keep adjusting the antennae because the pictures and sounds, when they come through, are the brightest and most interesting in the neighborhood. 

And only this TV, this antennae, could show you the world from a Colombian barrio rooftop, a Vietnamese restaurant with plastic chairs, and a tiled floor with foul-smelling Icelandic fermented shark. 

But the antenna, as we mentioned, is defective. No one knows the right adjustments, and nothing dampens its signal. Its sharpness captures every smell, every song note, and every person (especially his first love). It's all in there somewhere, jostling around, looking for a place to call home, until one day, he decides the cacophony is too much, too bright, too much. 

He turns it off.

Dedicated to Anthony Bourdain (1956-2018) 

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