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HomeHumorThe Papa Files: Cheetos With Chopsticks

The Papa Files: Cheetos With Chopsticks

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I now eat Cheetos with chopsticks. And not just Cheetos, but anything with a cheesy coating, chips and puffs, or any snack that leaves a remnant of its flavor on my fingers, including grease.

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Oh, I don’t always use chopsticks. When I’m reclined in my chair or stretched out on my bed while watching TV, I use my bare fingers; isn’t that half the fun? I just have to remember not to grab the remote or my phone or my glasses with my cheesy hand, or fluff my pillow. That’s surprisingly hard to do when I’m captivated by the latest documentaries on dinosaurs, ancient civilizations, and computer artists’ envisioning of what alien planets might look like. I’ve had to clean a remote many times with tissues and Q-tips and wash a pillow case ahead of its usual stint in the laundry.

But when I’m in the mood for such a snack while working on my keyboard or playing my guitar, I have three choices: don’t have a snack; don’t write or play while snacking, or I can get up and wash my hands after every grab from the bag. Now I have the perfect fourth choice: I can snack on anything I want no matter how cheesy or buttery or salad-dressing-y or jalapeno-y or horseradish-y the coating is. Indeed, the simple device is a helper.

Of course, chopsticks work best with juicy cubes of meat and soft rolls of rice and steamed, diagonally-cut veggies, and actually, I can stab those with one stick, no problem. Noodles require two sticks if you don’t want to burn your fingers when the hot strands slide down the one stick as you raise it to your mouth. (I’ve tried this!) I keep thinking I need to invent the “hooked” chopstick, just for when I’m eating Ramen or any such dish of store-bought lo-meiny concoction. But that wouldn’t help with chips, which are tricky. I can snatch a pea off my plate with chopsticks, but chips require a more balanced squeezing of stick tips together… Hey, split the ends of the sticks into little fans, sew them with silk to keep the fibers separate but flexible, and there you go: chip chopsticks.

Mostly, though, I use chopsticks for Cheetos, Cheese Puffs, and my favorite, Andy Capp’s Hot Fries. Cylindrical shapes are amenable to sticks. Still, despite my ongoing practice, I have moments of inattention (for you must always be attentive when using chopsticks, lest you miss your mouth and poke a nostril or jab an eye) and was startled to see a Cheeto disappear from the tips of my sticks. It was there, and in a careless flex of my fingers, the cheesy treat instantly vanished. I thought the orange-colored twist of puffed corn shot over my head and behind my chair, but I didn’t get up right away, and forgot about it for a time; I was busy. Then I couldn’t find it. I can only hope the dog snuck in and ate it, because I don’t want ants.

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Now I’m wondering about practicing a three-stick technique, like using a three-prong plier, so I can always get a firm grip on anything. That would be easier than trying to make fan-ended sticks. I’m not clear on how I should orient my fingers, I’ll have to experiment, but I’m sure the pinky will be involved.

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