National Commentary

Johnny’s World: Tenders

jworldEveryone has a conscience. Most people have a basic understanding of the sliding scale of right versus wrong. Very few people have the uncanny ability to restrain themselves when a self-indulgent moment rears its ugly head and I’m not one of them.

I’m sitting at a mid range restaurant, in midtown Manhattan, wearing my mid-size eating pants. I’ve been here before. The décor is flawless, the staff outstanding and the food is legendary. I’ve definitely had some good times topping off my wine glass and snuggling in the soft cream leather banquettes as well as feasting on anything that is set in front of me. While I know that a glutinous good time is a sin and considering I make a living off hurling myself into the air and spinning around in revealing costumes, I should know better than being at this haven of heavy.

I finger the supple, leather bound menu. “I really should just have a salad and maybe a little nip of Sancerre, but if I substitute the Sancerre for some pommes frites my waistline can’t possibly know the difference.” I mentally decide that I’ll have a salad and an iced tea, because I have the willpower to simply smell the other patrons french fries and feel good about myself when I walk out and my mid-size jeans are falling off my hips. “Oh Johnny, you’re so strong.”

The waiter arrives and I am prepared to tell him exactly what I mentally prepared for, salad with the dressing on the side and an unsweetened iced tea. “Welcome back Mr. Weir. What can I get you today?” “How are you Stewart? Well to drink I’d love a Sancerre. For the starter I’ll have the steak tartare with a small bowl of mixed greens, for the main I’ll do the swordfish done in the beurre blanc (lemon and butter and cream and luxury) with green beans and then for the grand finale I’d love fresh berries and brandied whipping cream. And you know what, instead of just the glass of Sancerre, I’ll do a bottle instead, it’s more price efficient.” What the…

I blame this situation, and situations similar like when I order room service and the staff has to be sure it’s all for just one person on the stress of spending money for someone else to feed me and to be sure that I’ll enjoy it. The more you order, the better the chances that you’ll like at least one thing. The trouble with this logic is that I usually (always) enjoy it all and eat it down to the green parts on the strawberries. Aside from this troubled logic, the reality is, unless I have something imminent that I need to be thin and cut for, all my learned strength and sensibility are useless.

Given what I do for a living, I have developed a lot of “-isms” when it comes to food. Extreme dieting is commonplace in my sport and in the field of entertainment. In high season, I eat once a day always before five and usually just enough to survive. I use this diet to strengthen my skating but also to strengthen my mind, “If you can forgo the human necessity of nourishment, think how mentally strong you’ll be!” While my dietary habits are well known and often looked down upon, this is a diet that works for me, the same way Jenny Craig works for other people. I feel good, look good and get turned down from writing health and cookbooks for it, but it works for me.

After the glutinous meal, I waddled back to my town car, Yuri drove me home and I went to sleep. The next day I woke up feeling my new heft and my jeans screamed for hours once I’d wrestled the button closed. Even though I could work off my meal in one hour, the fact that I’d slipped left me feeling weak and exposed.

I use this one instance of gluttony to provide the backdrop to my point, whether it’s a diet, a marriage or a goal, one must allow simple pleasures but never let their need to exorbitantly self satisfy lead you from your course. There are enough enemies we make in life who will try to derail us, why let the first attack come from within?