“Hey, it’s John Hodgman!”
John Hodgman used to spend a considerable amount of time on TV. He’s played, in his words, all sorts of “sexless weirds” in TV and commercials alike. He spent time on The Daily Show as, among other things, a deranged billionaire. He left his Daily Show role behind as Trump rose to power, as there is nothing funny anymore about criminally insane rich people. He isn’t spending too much time on TV at the moment; it’s been years since he was the PC of Apple ad fame, and while he pops up in weirdo character roles, his shows don’t tend to last. The “hey, it’s John Hodgman”s are fading, but he still holds onto the perverse joy of being recognized. Being seen and known makes him happy, and listening to him tell his tales makes me happy, so here we are! Looking out for each other!
This recording has been keeping me slow-and-steady company since June 21st- the second day of summer. The husband and I listen to it while we’re driving around, and we have not been doing too much driving this year. We finally finished it on Saturday while driving out to Vermont; we left New Hampshire for the first time since early March to see my parents in middle-of-nowhere VT- the first people that we have seen outside of work in just as long. Getting out was bittersweet; as was finishing this long-loved book.
Hodgman, who is an amazingly open and honest person despite his often curmudgeonly characters, has found himself looking for his value; his star power has fallen he’s mad at animals on Instagram who get better seats at awards shows than he does- and he isn’t booking the roles that he used to. His career has changed, the world has changed, his kids are getting older and he’s said goodbye to an ancient pet. What can he hold onto?
The answer, my friends, is his frequent flier status with his “beloved airlines”! He’s racked up countless miles flying back and forth across the country, and while strangers may not be stopping him in the street with “hey, it’s John Hodgman!”, the staff at “beloved airlines” know him, love him, and give him all of the perks of his rank; he is obsessed with meeting and keeping the highest level of the rewards program, and he goes to bonkers lengths to hold onto his…MEDALLION STATUS! The status gets him perks, preferential treatment, and access to a secret lounge. That’s what he needs right now- a secret room where he is not only invited, but expected to be.
I get it, man. We all need something, and frequently that something is excessively silly but still SO important. I am not interested in chatting with celebrities; I don’t need a selfie, I don’t want an autograph, and I don’t need a story to tell…but if I saw John Hodgman, I would give him a HUGE “Hey, it’s John Hodgman!” and for a moment, we could both be happy.