National Commentary

Johnny’s World: Icon


 He’s six months early, but he checks the internet every other hour for status updates, rumors, sketches and possibly even samples. He says things like, “The day this happens will be a special day, a great day and a day to be remembered.”

It’s a month before the “big day” and he wakes in the middle of the night with ideas and dreams of grandeur. The first credible images have been released, the rumors have now become articles and dates are even being set for the third coming of, ‘the big day.’

The day, well the morning, has finally arrived. With the skill of a jungle cat stalking a prized antelope that will feed it’s family for a month, he drives to the location where his chances are the most optimum. His focus is palpable. He is not directionally savvy, but with the help of several GPS devices he arrives safely and possibly a bit early. The morning is slightly chilly but the adrenaline running through his body keeps him warmer than desert sun. He notices a line of “others”, all equally spellbound at the prospect of reaching the top of this mountain.

These hordes, these masses are lined up behind a small, plastic table laden with massive boxes of coffee and equally massive boxes of colorful donuts as though they are homeless, penniless and just off the boat. They look glazed over, either from the early wake-up call or the fact that they will soon chomp their pray as all those great white sharks do on Shark Week. Keep in mind, that the majority of these people drove here in a Mercedes or are carrying a pricey handbag and they all have at least the amount of money that this treasure will cost them.

These are sane people, or at least on the cusp of sane. He is one of them. Chatting with strangers who he wouldn’t usually give the time of day. Revealing hopes and dreams to these random people who he will never meet again, but who share a common goal and therefore, precious moments in one another’s lives.

A bleary eyed creature who works at this “soup kitchen” peers out from behind a door, “We’ve got 100.” He counts 100 people and tells number 101 to infinity, that they won’t receive the prize.

Sighs of relief and failure resonate through the crowd of crazy. A mass exodus begins as all the number 101’s flee to other spots to receive the ultimate gift. He is one of them.

He partakes in this Ellis Island remake three times today. The morning sun has given way to high noon and eventually turns to dusk. On his final attempt, he steps into paradise. With a slight warble in the voice of the overworked shop-girl, she assures him, that he will get one. Apparently a second shipment has come, just thirty minutes prior, and he is one of the lucky fifty who will taste success.

The newest addition of his life arrives in a sleek box. His six month-old obsession culminates in an almost orgasmic experience of pride and happiness. His mouth waters from hunger and from passion. He has achieved the greatest thing a human can possibly achieve, he has acquired an iPhone 5.

“He” is my husband. An Ivy League grad, a stable and proud man with wisdom and brains for days, who gets excited over very little and he’s been reduced to a teenage girl fighting for a bottle of Bieber’s new fragrance by a five inch piece of “brushed aluminum.”

Iconography is important to us all. I would stand in line for an Hermes sample sale while my little brother obsesses over an exclusive pair of Nikes. Of course there is pride in acquiring a pretty new thing you love, but who is all this drama for? I peacock for a living, and it’s important for me to show off and be proud so I think I understand this game. Half the reason we go crazy over the newest thing is to belittle, be better than or to brag to other people. Fight for those icons you cherish, but don’t forget, we all enjoy feeling like we’re the biggest and the best. 


Johnny Weir is a three-time U.S. figure skating national champion and two-time Olympic competitor.