loaded with protein!

For the uninformed, a Cricket Lick-It is a novelty lollipop with a cricket inside. A friend of mine brought one to class when I was in middle school. We all crowded around to examine the rectangular prism of yellow candy with the bug inside, which was vaguely reminiscent of the mosquito in Jurassic Park. I examined it closely and remarked that it was amusing, but that it was not a real cricket. My friend retorted that of course it was a real cricket, that they wouldn't be able to claim it was a cricket on the packaging if it was fake.

We checked the side of the plastic wrapper for the ingredients.
Ingredients: HSH (Maltitol syrup), Cricket, Natural and Artifical flavoring, Artificial Color (Yellow 5, Blue 1)

Huh. Well, still, there's no way that it could be a real cricket, right? I was still not convinced. They'd have to have a warning or something that stated, "Hey! Stubborn girl! That's a real cricket in there!" Crickets can't be good for you.* Surely that was just a fake cricket made of candy or maybe even a toy. We argued for a good few minutes over it, and I was not to be convinced. And then came the challenge that I should've seen coming.

"Well, then you eat it and find out."

Fine, I will, I said. I was confident that it was candy, so I unwrapped the sucker and started working on it. The cricket was in the middle, and since this was not a Tootsie Pop, it took more than three licks to get to the center. ("Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the insectival center of a Cricket Lick-It?") Some time went by while I sucked on the lollipop. Regardless of the genuineness of the bug inside the sucker, obviously the HotLix Candy Company did not put a lot of money into their sucker recipe - the candy itself tasted like crap. I guess when you've got an obvious gimmick, there's no point in making a quality product.

Finally I started getting to some cricket parts. Before long, there was a leg sticking out into open air where the candy had been diminished by my tongue. It was at about this point that I begin to have doubts in my fake cricket theory. Then I bit the leg and switched sides of the argument altogether. Yup. That is one real cricket I am eating, I thought. Worse than that was the knowledge that I still had five legs, an abdomen, antennae, and a head to go. No one else had noticed me eat the leg, so as far as they knew, the question was still in the air.

The good thing about my stubbornness is the fact that I am consistent with it. So I refused to give up in eating the cricket that I had refused to believe was real. I sucked some more until I could get the cricket in all one bite, my misery and dread building up with each successive lick. By this time, people noticed that it was cricket-eating time, and it was with an audience watching that I took a big bite out of that very real cricket. I chewed and nodded confidently, "It's candy." I had just eaten a cricket. There was no way I was about to make myself feel worse by admitting to being wrong. "Adding insult to injury" doesn't even begin to cover what I was feeling.

Oh, I learned my lesson that day. I think the moral of this story is pretty clear: never be wrong about anything. Also, don't eat crickets.

*As according to the FAQs on cricketscience.com:
ARE ANY CRICKETS POISONOUS? No, not to our knowledge. Undoubtedly, however, there are crickets somewhere in the world that produce a noxious chemical that wards off one or more kinds of predators that might otherwise have the crickets for food. This kind of thing is very common among insects. The crickets in "Cricket-Lick-It" lollipops certainly aren't poisonous, however; they're loaded with protein!

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