Update: Speaking of celebrities battling demons. KC Chiefs fans (and others) may find this story about Larry Johnson and Clinton Portis interesting. It’s another reminder there’s a person inside the helmet and shoulder pads… or chef’s jacket (or whatever you call it).
Update: Tuesday night/Wednesday morning The Travel Channel is/was running several episodes of Anthony’s “No Reservations” show, which later became “Parts Unknown” on CNN. You can also watch some full episodes on the Travel Channel web site. CNN has also put together a nice collection of reflective Anthony Bordain clips here.
If you’ve ever watched “Parts Unknown” with Anthony Bourdain on CNN (or his previous shows on other channels) you saw one of our generation’s great storytellers. He took his own life Thursday night in a hotel room in France where he was working on a segment for his show. Click here for a nice story about Bourdain from his friends at CNN. In the story, they quote him as saying, “We ask very simple questions: What makes you happy? What do you eat? What do you like to cook? And everywhere in the world we go and ask these very simple questions,” he said, “we tend to get some really astonishing answers.” So, at roughly the same time I’m reading this and trying to figure out how to share his story and my admiration for his work in the short windows I have while playing music during the midday on The Eagle, I found it easy to answer the question, “what makes you happy?” As long as I get to pick more than one thing, one of them is going to be “watching hockey”. I grew up in suburban Chicago idolizing Blackhawks players like Tony Esposito and Stan Mikita. I’ve been a Lincoln Stars season ticket holder since day one. I used to drive up to Omaha to watch Lancers games before that. I love watching the Frozen Four and Stanley Cup hockey on TV. I marvel what those guys can do on skates. Last night I sat on my couch and watched the final game of the Stanley Cup finals. It was your typical championship game with near constant drama oozing from the back and forth scoring chances. Curled up next to me on the sofa is my 17 year old daughter who’s actually paying attention and caring about what happens on the screen. We high fived when Vegas scored. We groaned when Washington scored. We’ve been on that same couch watching my Blackhawks win 3 Stanley Cups in the last 7 years. Some of her favorite items of apparel have had Blackhawk logos. She has the Blackhawks app on her phone. She has been my hockey date at Stars games since she was nine or ten. She has team posters on her bedroom wall. Every year for her birthday celebration she brings a friend (or two) to a game and rides the Zamboni. Can you imagine anything cooler than sharing one of your favorite things in the world with your only child and having her genuinely enjoy it? You know who her favorite band is? The Beatles. You know how cool that is? Remember, I have been a rock and roll DJ my entire adult life. And my kid loves the Beatles. We’ve been to see a pair of Beatles tribute bands at the Lied Center and I’ve twice taken her to see Paul McCartney in concert. In a rare moment of honesty, Mike St. James once interrupted some story I was telling about my kid by asking, “do you know how lucky you are?” He was right. Since the day she was born I have been aware that each day was probably taking me closer to the day she would hate me (because that seems to happen with a lot of kids and parents). But, so far it has not yet happened and instead, there are lots of moments that make me happy. She’s also a good baker. After the game we ate some kind of chocolate chip cookie pie she made for my wife as a belated Mother’s Day gift. We’re both lucky.
Back to Anthony…yesterday we got a story from the CDC about suicide rates over the past 19 years. The numbers are going up. Way up. Everywhere. This is awful. Nebraska is not as bad as many places. 25 states have seen at least a 30% increase from 1999-2016. Only one state saw a decrease. Just 7 states had a smaller increase than Nebraska. I have no solutions. But I know that talking about it and sharing information like this is a no brainer. I saw a few episodes of his TV show over the weekend and was saddened to think how someone so talented could make this kind of decision. It just goes to show that you never know people as well as you think you do.