Bird #1: A piece of me crumples up in a crinkly ball whenever I come across a blank bio section hungry for some meaty jargon. I never know how much elaboration to pump into it or which minute details can be left behind; I walk a fine line between vanity and aloofness, and I want to dabble in both. An impressionable bio is what I assume I’m offering to the casual reader, but I never really know how much of my scriptura they are just tossing into the literary wind.
Bird #2: Anthony Bourdain is the motherflippin’ man. I want his life, his experiences and his job. My first glimpse of The Man was at the tail-end of an episode when the credits were rolling and he was kicking back shots. I’m assuming he was in South America, but regardless, I was heavily intrigued by this fireball. Ever since the discovery of “No Reservations” I was hooked like a junkie, The Man being my source, my supplier, and his show being my hour-long escape from reality. I might be a few steps away from having The Man’s life, experiences and job, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t pack my bags and some Tums if I was asked to go on a foodie-pilgrimage with him. I am a devout follower of Gourmandism.
Dear Mr. Anthony Bourdain,
My name is Lex McDermott. I am in my mid-twenties and an Emerson College graduate with a degree in Writing, Literature and Publishing. I enjoy a good cup of brew, my boyfriend, long EasyTone walks on the beach and world cuisine. I have deemed myself as “Thai’rish” and I am dangling a metaphorical pit-roasted pig in your face. Take me with you on your worldly excursions.
Have I caught your attention and/or confused you yet?
I was born in Bangkok, Thailand. My Thai birth-name is Lagkuna Testong (note the lack of syllables) and I was adopted by two amazingly loving and selfless parents when I was about 2.5 years young. From there my family of three moved to Singapore, you know, “lion-city”? The place where you sucked bone marrow through a straw at a hawker center? Yep, there. From there we moved to Kaula Lumpur, Malaysia, “where it all comes together.” My dad and I hunted snails that slurped the morning dew and every afternoon a kaleidoscope of birds would dive and dip into our pool as the resident monitor lizard would scutter across the driveway. We had a rowdy band of monkeys that would unscrew the bulbs around the exterior of our house and eat the bugs trapped and toasted inside them.
Then we moved to Wilmington, DE. Move along, people, nothing to see here. Well, actually, I did receive my US citizenship and learned how to cross the street on my own.
After that exotic blip, my family moved to Taipei, Taiwan. I don’t remember much except for the traffic, typhoons and pollution. I drank a lot of boxed chrysanthemum tea, unearthed my passion for writing, went through my nightmare stage of childhood, and lived in a house that had bars and a laser motion-sensor alarm system. Our house got broken into during the first week we moved in and our driver, Simon, slept on our floor by the shattered window with a pillow and gigantor knife. Oh, look, here’s me and my dad!
We returned back to Singapura where I spent half of fourth, then fifth, sixth and seventh grade. For me, Singapore was such a safe and nurturing city and I would not trade a single coming-of-age experience here for anything. I learned to respect different cultures and traditions. I gained my sense of unconventional cultural identity and appreciation for it. School field trips to Malacca, Little India, Chinatown, the zoo, numerous temples, the Night Safari and various hawker centers impacted my brain and left it a porous sponge in need of constant cultural anthropological saturation. And what I wouldn’t give to have Hainanese chicken rice from a Singaporean hawker stall. You can have your gooptastic marrow and I’ll go to town on my beloved chicken rice; we’ll be two sweaty & content peas in a pod.
Hong Kong. An Asian Gotham City-eqsue acid trip. The hippest destination on my life tour, perhaps the pinnacle. My family lived in Repulse Bay and I went to Hong Kong International School. All I can say is Stanley Market, The Repulse, Outward Bound, Happy Valley, The Peak, the Rugby 7’s, Wan Chai, Chai Wan, amber alerts, the Aberdeen Tunnel, the double-decker 6 bus, Pacific Place, the Ferry, Tai Tam, North Point, bamboo scaffolding and Dance Dance Revolution, and not necessarily in that order.
After Hong Kong, gloriously electric Hong Kong, my family moved to East Longmeadow, MA. Sigh. I played out the last three years of high school at Wilbraham & Monson Academy and started my college career at Emerson College. Even though I thought my roots were going to be planted for more than three years, the day my parents dropped me off for freshman orientation and helped haul nine bins up to my dorm room, they hopped on a plane and flew out to Burr Ridge, IL to unpack the new house. My antsy nomadic instincts told me the grass was greener on the other side, and I transfered to Indiana University to have the ultimate “all-American” experience I never had. Fast forward three tragic semesters and a year-long hiatus, I returned back to Emerson, graduated, and here I am, blogging to you.
Mr. Anthony “The Man” Bourdain, I would be the perfect side-kick, candidate and complement to your show. I know how you roll, I treat your show like a religion and I myself have the travel bug meticulously woven into the fibers of my being. My palate is exquisitely curious and culturally seasoned. I don’t have allegiance to a particular country but I’m connected to more than one! Pick me, pick me! I swear I’m an interesting caricature. Think about it. Have your people talk to my people, I could be the most interesting addition to “No Reservations” yet.