Kids devour chips that are ‘bag-licking good’

So, I’m sitting in my fourth period grading some tests.

The class is the longest of the day. We spend our time talking about social issues and playing educational games.

It’s kind of what geezers like me would call homeroom. We pass along announcements, messages, and so on it to the kids.

It’s near the end of class and the students have some free time.

I let them play on their computers or make crafts if the noise is kept to a low rumble.

I spy one of my charges standing by the trash can. She’s split the side of her bag of corn chips and flattened it out so you can see the shiny liner.

She proceeds to lick the surface of the bag for several minutes.

I watch dumbstruck. Finally, I compose myself and call the student by name.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Licking my bag,” she said.

She said it in a tone that indicated an unspoken “duh.”

This happens a lot when working with mostly 11-year-olds.

It’s like waking up on a different planet every day and being expected to know the language and the cultural norms while your best efforts to communicate are shunned so savagely even the most aloof housecat would be jealous.

Nonetheless, I persisted.

“Why are you licking your bag?” I asked.

“Because Takis are awesome,” she said. “I wouldn’t feel I finished unless I licked the bag. Everyone does it.”

I immediately stopped the class. I am not a sociologist but am curious about consumer behavior.

“How many of you eat Takis?”

Nearly all the 30 students raised their hands.

“How many of you lick the bag?”

Again, nearly all hands were raised.

I knew of Takis. They sell them at the Casey’s on the corner about a block away from the middle school where I teach.

By the way, if you want to make a lot of money, open your convenience store near a middle school. The appetite for chips, candy, and pop are unslakable.

My students are obsessed with snacks. If someone has gum, the rest of the class tries to beg for a piece of gum from the one with gum.

Gum in middle school is like cigarettes in old prison movies. The more you have, the more popular you are.

The students are also obsessed with something called Slime Lickers.

It’s liquid candy that comes in a container like a roll-on deodorant.

The kids roll the flavor on their tongues or suck the top of the ball like a pacifier.

It looks very silly, which is something you can get away with when you’re 11, not quite a child, not quite a teenager.

The Takis are corn chips from Mexico. They come in a variety of flavors, but the kind that shows up in my classroom tendss to be red or blue.

The appeal, I’m told, is they are very spicy. The chips are covered in a spicy powder, hence the licking of the bag, so that no granule of spice is lost.

I’ve banned snacks and gum from my classroom, but I have not done a good job enforcing it.

Part of the problem is I don’t want to waste time telling people to spit out their gum and put away their bags of chips.

Then again, I don’t want them wasting time passing out chips and gum and mooching off one another.

Both actions waste instruction time, which is what they’re paying me to do.

It should be enough that I posted the sign, though anyone who has ever dealt with children knows it’s never enough just to state the rules.

I mete out justice in subtler ways.

When a student comes up to me with Takis dust all over their fingers and asks for a pass to the restroom to wash their hands, I refuse.

This is met with many a mew and cry.

But if they’re bag-licking good, thought to be at least finger-licking good.

Middle school teacher Daniel P. Finney writes a column for the Marion County Express.

Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.


  1. Tw Hess says:

    I am what once was once described as a ‘senior citizen’. Though I suppose today the age range skews higher than my age.

    I am a ‘bag licker’. I feel no shame. Puffy Cheetos are my particular addiction. The puppy/dog licks my fingers; I lick the bag. Yes, no shame.



  2. I first discovered Takis at an out of state convenience store and was hooked on the red ones. I danced a little dance of joy when I discovered them in an Iowa Casey’s. Why I never discovered bag licking might be due to advanced age, or fear of chin dust.


  3. Kim L Heimann says:

    So, big question is, have you tried them yet?


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