Investigating the latest crisis: Flamin’ Hot Cheeto addiction

(It’s Sunday! That one day each week we allow ourselves a lazy start to the day by laying in bed a little longer! Sundays are also reserved for Flashbacks here at Ned’s Blog, which is my way of being lazy by running a post from the distant past. So in a way, we’re laying in bed together!

*awkward silence*

OK, well… I really need to go brush my teeth…)

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.

As a result, other school districts in New Mexico, as well as California, have initiated their own bans on the snack, in some cases confiscating any Cheetos found on students and consuming them on the spot.

“It’s for their own good,” said a teacher who conducts locker checks with the help of her dog Nacho, a 30-pound Cheeto-sniffing Chahuahua. “Back when he could walk, Chester couldn’t sneak up on kids because of his nails and heavy panting. Now he has a Hoveround; problem solved.”

My editor, recognizing the risks involved with my being immersed in the underworld of middle school Cheeto addicts for an entire day, expressed her concern with a supportive shoulder squeeze.

“Better make it a month,” she said. “In another state.”

“But I …”

“Fine, a week in town. Now get out.”

With my editor’s support, I began my investigation. This meant creating a disguise to avoid suspicion, which I did by wearing glasses, a bow tie and sweater vest. As I discovered, this allowed me to blend seamlessly with any school administrator who has been transported through time from 1950.

After just a few days of following orange Cheeto smears, “rapping” with kids and “keeping it real,” I gained their trust. So much so that I was given a special nickname:

Mr. Narc.

Ironically, it was my rapidly growing “street cred” that brought me to the attention of school administrators, who began to question my validity after checking the visitor sign-in sheet and discovering no one named Mr. Narc.

This effectively ended my investigation, which had been leading me toward the teachers lounge where, according to my informants, staff members secretly keep a giant flat screen TV, an ice cream bar, video games, have private concerts from One Direction, travel through hidden tunnels to their classrooms, and enjoy an endless supply of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

I can’t prove any of this, of course. Any more than my editor can prove I stole her candy.

…Unless she’s reading this.

I wonder what schools are like in Idaho?

(Ned is a syndicated columnist for News Media Corporation. You can write to him at, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

22 thoughts on “Investigating the latest crisis: Flamin’ Hot Cheeto addiction”

  1. you are so brave, and i must admit to a fhc addiction myself. you can always tell a chronic used by the distinct dayglo red orange tint under their fingernails

  2. It sounds like schools there are the same as the schools in Idaho! Although, there is this annoying POTATO chip addiction here too. *wink, nudge* get it? Potato! Idaho!!

  3. I haven’t had Cheetos in so long. I get the cravings and daydream of meeting the snack man on a bench in some undisclosed location, sitting beside each other but facing in different directions.

    I’d ask, “Did you bring the stuff?” To which he’d say, “Oh yeah! And this is the good grade; none of that ‘orgnanic’ crap with pronounceable ingredients.”

    “How do I know you’re not selling me a bag of orange chalk?”

    “Try one!”

    I can see myself getting so elated that I talk in my sleep — until I’m nudged awake, my wife sitting up with her arms crossed, waiting for an explanation.

    No, thank you. Not worth it. Unh, uh…

    Now… if you ever need a stringer to help with that investigation, she might understand… especially if I tell her I’m doing it for the kids 🙂

    Thanks for the laughs with this one, Ned.

          1. And there you have the swirl of emotion that I am accustomed to receiving.

            Is there truth that your genius for disguise and investigative journalism has landed you an offer to be a part of the cast of a Sixty Minutes spinoff — “Gone In Sixty Seconds”?

No one is watching, I swear...

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