In the decade since I first decided that “professional food humorist” was a real job, I’ve developed a strict moral code that guides my writing, and I do my best to adhere to it. The first, most important rule is not to make fun of other people, because, well, it’s mean. No joke is worth hurting another person, whether I know them or not, because we’re all inherently flawed human beings who are doing the best we can within our own complicated lives. The only time I’ll consider violating my most sacred rule is the person really, really, reeeeaallly deserves it, and there are few people who deserve to be mocked more than the original Papa John himself, John Schnatter. If you are unsure why he is worthy of mockery, I encourage you to do your own extensive research.
Back in 2010, Papa John’s (the company) introduced online ordering, and to show his millions of customers how the internet works, Papa John (the person) hired a film crew to come to his house to create a video that I have thought about at least once a week for the past ten years:
I do not have the time to articulate everything that is beautiful about this short film, but I do hope to one day honor it properly by writing a Papa John-centric coffee table book. The reason I bring up this decade-old video is that one of its central mysteries has, at long last, been solved: What the fuck is that massive thing in Papa John’s hallway?
It is—and I can’t even believe I get to write this—a two-story-high sculpture of two eagles having sex, and it is also a clock. I’m so happy I could cry. You’re going to need a few deep breaths before I tell you how I learned this, because that information is, miraculously, better than the stuff about the clock. Ready?
Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that Papa John is now making TikTok videos from his castle (yes, his castle) and they are the most Papa Johnniest thing you can imagine:
This feels like seeing the sun for the very first time after a lifetime in darkness. I want to know everything about Papa John’s house. I want a full oral history of its construction and interior design. I want this house to be as venerated as Versailles and the Parthenon. I want to see the house through Papa John’s eyes. I want him to show us “where the magic happens,” because if he puts his giant eagles in the hallway, can you imagine what he puts in his bedroom? Most of all, I want to see just how Papa John spends his days in a structure that will surely one day become a cult compound.
Wait a second... he posted a TikTok about that!
Papa bless. Papa bless so, so hard.