Investigating the latest crisis: Flamin’ Hot Cheeto addiction

I thought I was nearly undetectable in my “school teacher” disguise; obviously, I was wrong.

Being a journalist can be dangerous. Especially when it involves middle schoolers and their snack food. I knew this when I approached my editor, who can also be dangerous, particularly when her candy drawer is found empty, even though she keeps it locked with a key hidden in a folder labeled Extra Work for Reporters.

In spite of this danger, I asked if I could go undercover to investigate what Fox News reported as “a growing crisis in schools across the country — and we’re pretty sure that country is somewhere in the U.S.”

What I’m talking about, of course, is the growing crisis of “Flamin’ Hot Cheetos” addiction.

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, a teacher in New Mexico wants to ban Flamin’ Hot Cheetos from school due to the snack’s complete lack of nutritional value and its addictive nature.

“But Twinkies are fine,” she added. Continue reading

Coaching kids? Start with jelly donuts

Going downtown for a hail Mary pass into the bucket.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not very athletic. I made this realization in the third grade, when I was knocked unconscious 32 times playing dodge ball. After that first game, I remember waking up in the nurse’s office and being told of a special program for “gifted” athletes who were so special they got to wear a football helmet during recess.

Of course, I eventually figured out there was no “special program,” and openly expressed my feelings of betrayal when I slammed my helmet on the desk of my high school counselor.

After which I was taken to the hospital with a broken finger.

I live with the memory of being an unathletic child on a daily basis. Particularly when I look in the mirror and see a man whose head still fits into a third-grade football helmet. For this reason, when my daughter asked me to coach her fourth-grade basketball team, I smiled, took her hand, and began faking a seizure. I panicked at the thought of providing guidance to a team of fourth-grade girls, any one of whom could “take me to the hole.” Continue reading

Today’s Halloween costume is tomorrow’s therapy session

They may not look traumatized now, but I’m saving up for my children’s therapy sessions anyway — just in case.

It was a conversation that I had been putting off for as long as possible, even though I knew it was my responsibility as a parent to sit down and have “The Talk” with my daughter.

It’s better that it come from me rather than her getting crazy ideas from someone at school, I told myself.

So I sat my daughter down, held my breath for a moment, then and asked:

“What do you want to be for Halloween?”

For some of you, this is an exciting time that allows you to bond with your child by making their Halloween-costume dream come true.

For the rest of us, it’s a time when we cross our fingers and pray that our child’s “Halloween costume dream” is hanging on a rack somewhere at Wal-Mart. Because if it isn’t, we’ll have to make something, and therefore put our child’s emotional health at risk by creating a costume that could potentially scar them for life. Continue reading

Through hypnosis, you can become a better golfer — unless you think you’re a chicken

Golf is so much more exciting than bowling … OK, not really. Well maybe. Actually, now that I think about it … ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Our universe is full of mysteries.

Easter Island.

The Bermuda Triangle.

California.

And perhaps the biggest mystery:

Why I was chosen to captain our office’s Relay for Life golf team for a second time. Being asked the first time could be attributed to office members not realizing how bad a golfer I really am. Though none of the injuries sustained during last year’s tournament were life threatening, having six golfers (two of whom were playing the hole behind me) knocked unconscious by balls with my initials on them — I thought — would become my golfing swan song.

(Speaking of which, I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize once again for the tragic death of that swan near the putting green. Had I known the difference between a putter and a pitching wedge, things might’ve turned out differently for that majestic creature.)

Because of this, I fully expected a letter from the American Golf Association (and PETA) denying me access to any course that doesn’t include a windmill and tokens for a free hot dog. Continue reading

Getting tuna off the lunch menu is every kid’s dream

The typical school lunch … at least in the eyes of your child.

Kids today are lucky.

Their school cafeteria experience will never include Mrs. Kidzyak’s “creamed tuna surprise,” which is still sitting in the shape of an ice cream scoop somewhere in my digestive tract.

Thirty years from now, they won’t be getting up from the couch and suddenly burp tuna, peas and what I’m pretty sure was Elmer’s Glue. And they will never have to explain why they can’t go into a deli because of an irrational fear of anyone in a hair net. Continue reading