I have taken to eating Klondikes, an ice cream square encased in chocolate. They are much like the Eskimo Pies of my childhood, except they have "nuts" in the chocolate coating which (upon investigation) turn out to be cereal ground into small fragments. They give the same effect as nuts.

Somewhat similar are confections called Polar Bears. I do not care much for Polar Bears since some my wife bought had melted slightly on the way from the store to the home freezer, and they were icy upon being refrozen. It is clear this is not the fault of the confection itself. Still, if you take against bears, there it is.

What I want the government to investigate is the last bite of Klondikes. I have tried eating them different ways (you hold them in their tin foil wrapping and skillful connoisseurs eat the last bite before they melt all over your shirt) but no matter how I do it, the last bite has some addictive additive in it.

All the other bites are okay. You just eat along, pleasantly and contentedly, but without (I should say) anything approaching foudroyant enlightenment.

But the last bite, no matter which corner is last, has some addictive property that triggers deep responses not only in the soul but in the body chemistry, a sort of imperious command:

"Get another one."

On my good days I eat one, or at most two. On other days I have eaten four. They cost 86 cents each down here, in our elegant Post lunchroom, plus tax, and the cash register official gives you a hard look after the second and third trip.

They say the Food and Drug Administration, which used to investigate odd things in the national fodder, has been gutted; otherwise, it would be the right outfit to look into this addictive last bite.

Another junk food (junk food is food that has other things besides food in it) I am semi-addicted to is Cheetos. These are "cheese-flavored snacks," which does not give you much idea. Actually, they are crunchy elongated things rather like worms caught at Yucca Flats and turned crisp and orange in a nonce.

Like the Klondikes, they eat along very nicely until you get to the last three, all of which are irradiated, I suppose, with something like opium, heroin, or whatever may be the most addictive substance upon earth. On my worst day, I have eaten five bags of Cheetos.

As everyone knows, modern technology is wonderful and corporations keep bringing us better things for better life through chemistry.

I assume that Klondikes and Cheetos, like everything else, are the fruit of research at du Pont, General Electric and Mobil Oil in trandem.

It is better to eat four Klondikes than four bags of Cheetos, because the Klondikes leave no telltale signs except an occasional spot on the shirt where the brittle chocolate breaks off and falls down (and you smudge it, brushing it off), whereas Cheetos turn your fingers a rich (and conspicuous) Day-Glo orange. Cheetos also give you 1,300 milligrams of sodium if you eat four bags of them, as I do, and sodium is the big new killer bee of the American diet, of course.

Besides, Cheetos not only turn your hands and lips orange. They also have something in them, silica, possibly? Or diamond dust? That cuts the sides of the mouth where the upper and lower lips join. The salt gets in these cuts and (unlike other addictive substances) Cheetos are therefore self-limiting. You have to wait a couple of days before starting on them again.

Now I do not believe the addictive substance in Klondikes and Cheetos is ferrous sulfate or thiamine mononitrate or the other things listed on the Table of Contents.

For a long time, I feared that I alone was addicted to these two products, but my daughter tells me they now sell Klondikes bold as brass right out on the sidewalk in New York, and I have seen too many empty Cheetos sacks in this capital to believe any longer that only I am hooked.

All I am asking is for Johns Hopkins (since the government probably no longer cares) to find out what is in the last bite of these otherwise dissimilar confections that causes the Pavlovian dash for additional supplies.

This should be done (and the substance banned) before the nation becomes a republic of enslaved addicts and before I go broke.