In light of the current questionable reputation of modern journalism, I want to be very clear before we start: I have not made any of this up. Just over a week or so ago, bids on eBay hit $100,000 for a Flaming Hot Cheeto shaped like the fatally wounded Cincinnati Zoo gorilla Harambe. I’m not sure what part of that is most disturbing or, in equal turn, hilarious.
Exactly how does this happen? Does one set out looking for a Harambe-shaped Flaming Hot Cheeto as one would go to the beach with a metal detector hoping to come across a lost quarter or a misplaced wedding ring? Or is it all just a freak chance? You’re sitting at Subway with your 6” Sub-of-the-Day and what you think is just another bag of chips when suddenly you realize you have the artificially-colored, calorie-laden version of a martyred zoo animal worth more than your reportable annual salary.
If, perhaps, you missed the dust up when it happened during the middle of last year because you were an ISIS hostage, lost in the Arctic or simply don’t care about silly things, then maybe you don’t know about poor Harambe, the four-year old boy who tumbled into his enclosure, and the heartbreaking decision to relinquish Harambe to cyber-sainthood. For the past year, he has been memorialized through silly memes and a song that my teenagers say is not “mom friendly.” That was before Frito-Lay catapulted our hero back into the spotlight as a Cheeto of considerable value.
Harambe’s celebrity status, though waning, is surely part of what played into the stupid amount bid, but I still think it’s a bit out of line for the going rate of celebrity food doubles. A 10-year old piece of toast with burn marks resembling the Virgin Mary only brought $28,000, a piece of toast that the owner claims was the source of her casino winning streak. How is that worth just under a third of Harambe Cheeto considering the added value of an associated lucky streak? The face of Elvis appearing in a slice of bacon was practically given away! We’re talking about the King! In bacon! It just makes no sense.
All this time, I have just been happy to find a bag of Baked Lays that wasn’t smushed into hydrogenated potato dust. Yet, for all I know, I’m just one well-formed kolache away from riches. Needless to say, I’ll start paying a little more attention.