Nobody’s eating well right now. Last Friday, I finally tired of topping everything I eat with cheese, and achieved a new comfort with the fact of my mortality. All pleasures will fade and eventually so must I. But I have learned that I am still capable of being shocked by the food some of you have consumed. There are too many beans. Your sourdough starters look like the contents of a stomach. Some of you are taking things too far. I am addressing you, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, and your tuna-melt crime against humanity. J’accuse!
This video is a lot to process, and it makes me wish I were on drugs. But first, some context. Politicians eat a lot of psycho shit. Warner probably does not have the constitution to out–Norman Bates his colleague Tom Cotton, who likes to eat birthday cake every day. He lacks the pathology of Scott Walker, who once said he ate two ham-and-cheese sandwiches every day for nearly 26 years, and who needs a Voight-Kampff test. He’s got nothing on Kent Calfee, the Tennessee legislator who sips from a bottle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup that is absolutely not filled with brown liquor, no ma’am, during sessions of the general assembly.
By these unholy standards, Warner’s tuna melt is kind of tame. Nevertheless, I am disturbed by what I’ve seen. Warner, whose net worth is somewhere around $200 million, looks as though he is filming inside a refurbished townhouse off one of Virginia’s many cul-de-sacs. Maybe this isn’t Warner’s kitchen, but if it is, what a damning indictment of the senator’s personality. Can’t that money buy a good stove? A better microwave? Pay a personal chef to make you things that aren’t tuna melts, or perhaps hire an interior designer who could do something about all that beige.
But I digress. Back to the sandwich. Back to the mayo, of which there is a tremendous quantity. Warner squeezes the bottle and it just keeps coming out. There’s no end. It’s the same color as the bread. As a former Baptist from Warner’s state, I feel well-qualified to say that this is simply too much mayo. To eat this much mayo in one sitting is to open the door to your life and welcome the Devil, who will harvest your soul by cardiac arrest. Warner doesn’t know this. He’s filled with hubris. He tops the mayo with tuna — he prefers Chicken of the Sea — and says it must be evenly distributed. (Unlike his fortune! Haha!) I cannot stress enough that he does not use tuna salad, but tuna fish, with all its juices. He does not drain it.
The result looks like something I would feed to my two cats, but he still isn’t finished. Into the microwave it goes. After 20 seconds, Warner removes his tuna-drenched-white-bread creation from the microwave, and eats it. This is supposed to be funny, but it is a horror short, and it’s a masterpiece. Each beep of the microwave increases the tension. You know something terrible shambles toward you and you will never be able to unsee it, but you cannot look away. You cannot stop what is about to happen. Mark Warner is going to eat that sandwich. And he does.
I did not laugh. I simply had an existential crisis. You can’t top everything with cheese and make it good. I realize that now. For this I owe Mark Warner my gratitude. Yet I must fault him still — not just for his horrendous cooking, or his contrived attempt to relate to the common man. He leaves one of the great questions of American culture unanswered: Is it chicken what he has, or is it fish?