Cheetos Bagels A Signal of the End Times
ADAM MICHAEL LUEBKE
with Cautious Hope
The newest great thing in America, according to one recent news article I loathe to link to here, is Cheetos bagels.
The bagel dough is mixed with ground Cheetos, and then the sloppy orange dough is dipped and rolled in buckets of Cheetos powder. Imagine that. Aren’t you thankful we live in such fantastic material times? Could Charlemagne have enjoyed such a lavish treat?
I saw the new bagel invention on a big screen TV inside a neighbor’s home. I was outside. Standing in the snow. I’d been cutting across his yard when I noticed what was on the screen. I pressed my face to the window and could just make out the sound from the TV. A group of girls and guys sat around on my neighbor’s furniture discussing the bagel. How yummy it would be. Or how gross. The reactions were strong and varied.
The news source was Buzzfeed, or some other source that lacks integrity like that, showing the deep, toxic orange bagels, and how they are made. The next clip was a line of people eating at a long trough, pushing the bagels into their stretched mouths with stained fingers. It was a sight, I’ll tell you, to behold. I backed away from my neighbor’s window and continued on.
I called up my good friend Hubert Humdinger as soon as I got home. He is the famous exiled cultural philosopher whose books were burned in the early 70s for containing explosive ideas. We hadn’t spoken for a few weeks. I’d been busy publishing a book about him. Time got away from me.
He picked up on the first Skype ring. I told him about the new bagels. I described the people smashing the bagels into their mouths.
“It’s the end of the world,” he told me. “The middle of the end of the end,” he said. “When people can’t milk enough sensory sweetness out of life to satisfy them on a daily basis. There has to be something new every day, every waking hour, even, or else the hope of something new, or else people get despondent and wonder what their purpose is in life.”
I wasn’t surprised the old philosopher came on so strong. He’s from what people might consider the ‘old world’, when people considered it a gift to be alive, not a fight against constant boredom. Humdinger soaks and eats dried beans with olive oil and rice. He believes canned beans are an “atrocious little modern day convenience that’s turned us into a bunch of weenies.” As he once told me, he doesn’t need somebody to can his damn beans for him.
“It’s just a gaudy bagel,” I said, getting back to the subject “even if it does look like it was soaked in a vat of industrial waste.”
“It’s not the bagel I’m talking about,” Humdinger said. He was hollering now. “It’s the impulse behind the bagel. It’s about the fact that such a stupid thing is even being advertised and people waste precious mental capacity on sharing their two cents about it!” His lips and teeth were right up against the camera. I could almost feel the lines of spit fling past them as he spoke.
The unflappable philosopher was shaking his head and scowling. “People should be worshiping their Creator, weaning themselves from the false thrills of this physical life, and hunkering down for their day of death. God knows it’s going to be a bumpy ride in the Afterlife for most of us.”
This was Hubert Humdinger the evangelist.
“Whatever bad habits and ego-centered ugliness you don’t finish ironing out in this life, you’ll be crushed and blasted for in the next. It’s a purification process,” Humdinger said, “and I’m afraid a lot of folks won’t bring enough salvageable material with them to make purification worthwhile.”
When we disconnected, I did a quick search online to see if I could get a Cheetos bagel in the small town where I live. I called the only bakery in town. “Do you have the Cheetos bagel?” I asked.
There was a pause as the university student (I assumed) went to ask his supervisor. I could hear him. “Some guy,” he said, “wants to know if we have a Cheetos bagel.”
A new voice came on the phone. “We don’t have that option here, I’m sorry,” he said. “It’s the manager speaking.” He breathed into the phone. “But I suppose if you want to stop in and bring your own Cheetos, we could probably crush them up and roll it around in them. It’s going to be an extra fifty cents though, like if you added another topping.”
I told him to forget about it. I was just wondering.
“No, don’t worry about it,” he said. “Whatever floats your boat is what we say around here.” He chuckled and told me it wasn’t a bad idea.
“It’s a terrible idea!” I told him. “It’s a signal of the end times!” But I stopped short of saying why because I just couldn’t stir up the thunder like Hubert Humdinger can. I hung up on an awkward note and probably left the only bakery in town on edge.
[Header photo of relief “Ludwig Erbe” by Peter Lenk, photo courtesy of Frank Vincentz, Wikimedia Commons]