Friday, July 28, 2006


Anthony Bourdain in Beirut

I am a fan of Anthony Bourdain's writing, as well as his food shows, so I eagerly dug into his Salon article about his thwarted experience filming in Beirut.

The surprise, for me, came at the end. My younger brother, Matt, is a Marine who's stationed in the Mideast. We just found out a couple weeks ago that he was relocated to Cyprus to help ferry people out of Lebanon. I got one short e-mail from him last week saying he was pretty tired from carrying babies around all day.

And today I read Bourdain's words. After he, his crew, and the rest of the refugees are man-handled by the embassy staff, "... we are put in the charge of the sailors and Marines of the USS Nashville who've hauled ass from Jordan on short notice to undertake a mission for which they are unrehearsed and inexperienced. Yet they perform brilliantly. The moment we pass through the last checkpoint into their control, all are treated with a kindness and humanity we can scarcely believe. Squared away, efficient, organized and caringly sensitive, the Marines break the crowd into sensibly spaced groups, give them shade and water, lead them single file to an open-ended landing craft at the water's edge. They carry babies, children, heat-stroke victims, luggage. They are soft-spoken, casually friendly. They give out treats and fruit and water. They reassure us with their ease and professionalism."

Anyway, I'm sitting here all teary and proud. Bourdain mentions none of these guys looks older than 17; indeed, my brother can carry all sorts of crazy-ass weapons on behalf of the U.S. government, but he can't legally kick back with a drink at the end of the day. So if you're reading this Matt, Friday Happy Hour is in honor of you. Nice job. :-)

Thanks for writin bout me sis. I appreciate the toast but just because im a badass dont make me above the law i'll still have to wait a few months to legally drink. There are plenty of young americans besides Marines who would like to drink and work just as hard. I should be back where my phone card works in a couple of days so i'll give you a call then, love matt
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