Kate Spade designed fun stuff – all pink and polka dots. Anthony Bourdain ate finger licking, down and dirty zesty meals – sampling and cooking or both.
And yet here we are and there they went.
There is discordance in the zeitgeist over the suicides of two famous people at the height of their games who had made it in the old-fashioned American tradition of building something from nothing.
They made it. They were wealthy from creative work they loved. They were at the top of their fields – respected, world-renowned and, likely, their names were even answers to a random category question on Jeopardy! Or a particular up or down series of spaces in a N.Y. Times crossword puzzle.
In fact, it might even have been the N.Y. Times Sunday puzzle or a special Tournament of Champions Jeopardy!
Of course, this means nothing – none of it is the answer to anything when it comes to depression or even circumstantial deep sadness. You can’t dig yourself out of a hole on a ladder of thousand dollar bills or bottle admiration or viewership into a magical elixir that will cure the brain of a person who has become so isolated and overcome with their disease that the only answer they can see to end their pain is their literal end.
Both were parents who loved their kids, so that didn’t do it. Both had been loved and/or were loved by special someones in their lives and that couldn’t fix it. Were all their personal relationships perfect? Certainly not. But whose are? And if that were the reason, why now?
Why toss it all away on that Tuesday and that Friday of this past week when on so many others they were able to soldier on and persevere to much more than most any of their peers – certainly a lot more than so many of us.
Though…was what they had A LOT more?
We are living in very strange times. For the first time in our history we have as our acting POTUS a billionaire (Note: Debatable though the numbers may be) with a penchant for gold gild and a measuring stick of great deals solely by tangible profit.
Succeeding means big numbers for the economy, the BEST deals – WINNING at the cost of anything.
Trump’s latest budget drastically cuts public health funds for 70 million low income and disabled people by slashing Medicaid. Its Department of Education budget grant program will be reduced to $42.5 million from $67.5 million – a whopping 36% decrease. So much for safer schools and more mentally stable students – or poor adults.
There is a method to their madness and that is – personal responsibility. Privatize everything because if people can afford it (nee work hard) they will get better medical care and will be less sick. Certainly, they will be less mentally ill. If you throw enough money at most problems, you can make them go away.
Um, not really. Not even close to really. Working hard and making more money is not a bad thing. But it’s not the answer.
Mike Drucker is a comedian and writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and after the suicides of Ms. Spade and Mr. Bourdain this week he tweeted:
He then went on to say:
In a world of budget cutting and moneymaking quick fixes, that’s a bummer, isn’t it? You have to put in years and years of emotional time and amorphous work – the same kind of sweat you use to build a skyscraper or a bridge or a bank account without any of their physical representations.
Worse yet, there are no guarantees all of that time will have produced ANYTHING worthwhile. This is the kind of strategy that actually asks us to make believe that lending a consistent helping hand to those less fortunate, choosing to forsake profit in order to preserve what nature has given us or welcoming other worlds (world views) into ours might also, just perhaps, produce numerous, beneficial dividends. A bottom line we can’t necessarily SEE but one we most certainly will FEEL
It’s a lot like talk therapy. No one is saying you have to do it solely without meds but to forego it altogether and only operate on what we can see on the surface will most certainly produce only surface results.
Nothing wrong with pleasant, tasty, shiny surfaces but they do have their limits, as the loved ones of Mr. Bourdain and Ms. Spade – both private and public – can tell you.
This is not to say either one could have been saved merely by a bit more talk. Nor could they be saved only by money or by their talent. There are no quick solutions and no one person who ALONE can fix it.
Which is also not to say pink polka dots and a zesty great meal don’t create momentary jolts of happiness and treasured memories. They and much more are components to the entire WHOLE.