Friday, June 18, 2010

It's nice, sometimes, to know how low you can really go

There's a quote in the Afterward of Kitchen Confidential where Bourdain is looking back on his career and the highs and the lows of where he's been and where he is now that has always stuck out to me.  I'll warn you now that if cursing bothers you, you may want to skip down a bit.  And if you don't like cursing you may want to skip this book altogether.

"Anytime I think 'This is beneath me!' or "This is fucking humiliating!' I have only to think of lying to my Mom to get a few dollars for crack, or selling my books and records on Broadway, or working at that horrifying TV-themed restaurant to remember what real humiliation is.  It's nice, sometimes, to know how low you can really go, what kind of bestial behavior you're capable of in times of extremis.  It makes lunch with some Hollywood fucktard -- or an interview with an over-Botoxed news anchor -- got down a lot easier." (307)

Everyone, at some point or another, reaches some sort of low and these lows give you perspective into the rest of your life.  It follows the idea that to truly be happy to have to experience sadness or you'll end up taking the good times for granted.  Maybe because this is a universal truth but this more than the no-fish-on-Monday, recycled bread, or the general tales of kitchen debauchery stands out as a memorable part.  Don't get me wrong, this isn't the only good quote nor is the Afterward my favorite section of the book -- that would be A Day in the Life as I mentioned in my previous post. It's just an idea that sticks with me long after I've put this book back on my shelf.

Next up on the book queue I'm thinking the set of Stephen King short stories Everything's Eventual.  It's a re-read so if I make it to a bookstore over the weekend these plans could change.  But since I'm using my Dad's mantra of "all plans are soft" when it comes to this blog to give myself the excuse to change my mind at a moment's notice.  And I believe that is as close as I'll make it to a Father's Day themed post, so enjoy that.

Bourdain, Anthony. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Harper Perennial, New York. 2007