Prepare My Nobel Prize, I Have Solved Life’s Greatest Mystery

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There are a great number of mysteries in life. What happened to Jimmy Hoffa? Who shot JFK and was it the same person who shot J.R. on Dallas? (Spoiler Alert: No.) Where in the world is that darn Carmen Sandiego?

The biggest mystery, though, revolves around, of all things, candy. Exactly how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?

As a kid, I had heard this question over and over. The commercial is laser-engraved on my brain. A kid walks up to good old Mr. Owl, the smartest and most trustworthy animal in the woods, with a Tootsie Pop. He asks Mr. Owl exactly how many licks it would take to reach the center. Mr. Owl licks three times before chomping through the sucker.

Mr. Owl, it seems, was a huge candy stealing jerk.

Since it seemed I couldn’t trust any woodland creatures to solve this mystery, I knew it was up to me. With that knowledge, I set to work.


Lick 1: I get started, very happy I chose raspberry and not nasty green apple. Only an idiot would have chosen green apple. Fortunately, I am no idiot.

Lick 36: I nearly suffer an aneurysm trying to resist my natural urge to bite through the sucker.

Lick 100: My tongue begins to bleed, rubbed raw from the licking.

Lick 114: I realize that I could use a different area of my tongue to prevent bleeding in the future.

Lick 145: I am very tired of raspberry. I’m still very happy I did not choose green apple.

Lick 172: I see a child eating a box of DOTS. I almost give up my mission, shove the kid over, and grab the box. Any candy that does not require licking seems ideal.

Lick 196: I begin to see the brown of the Tootsie Roll through the deep red of the raspberry outer shell. I barely care anymore, but continue on in the name of science.

Lick 235: I finally taste the sweet faux-chocolate of the Tootsie Roll center of the Tootsie Pop. I remember that I absolutely hate Tootsie Rolls. Realizing I have just wasted the last ten minutes of my life, I grab a box of DOTS and swear off all Tootsie Roll related objects for the rest of my life.

16 thoughts on “Prepare My Nobel Prize, I Have Solved Life’s Greatest Mystery

  1. So brave. So very brave.

    I had no idea they made green apple Tootsie Pops now. Back in my day it was just cherry, chocolate, raspberry, orange and grape. I only liked cherry. But I never licked OR bit. I sucked.

    Um… that sounded bad.


  2. Guess I’m not as patient as you. I suck on them until they’re soft, then bite in and chew it off the stick. Trouble with this post is that now I want to eat one, but I don’t have any.


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