Anyone who has ever snatched open one of the classic purple bag’s made up of pica hot Takis knows that they’re entering into a certain kind of uncertain territory the moment they pop the spicey chip fare into their mouths. Takis are predictable and yet slightly unpredictable. They’re going to scortch your tongue, but how much is up in the air. It’s part of the fun. Mostly because, in a way, they put your strength to the test. Can you endure the red-hot taste that will be unleashed onto your tongue by the tightly twisted chips you’ve plucked from the bag? Or are you un llanto bebé? You know, the kind that can’t stand the heat?
If I’m being honest, for me, Takis have admittedly acted as a taunting trial of my Latinidad. I’m a Cuban-American. We don’t use extreme spice or picante to pepper our foods and bring out flavor (I won’t test you all by proclaiming that our food is amazing enough without it… PERO it is), we use other amazing flavors to punch up and enrich our cuisine. Still, as members of the Latinx community, we are consistently subject to comments when others find out that we don’t die and go bananas for spicey food (Not all Latinos eat spicey food y’all! Dang!)
And yet, even despite my confidence in my personal taste and likes in flavors, every once in a while I find myself feeling slightly put off by the faces of “¡¿Qué, qué?¡”
It’s why, earlier this week when a co-worker asked if I wanted a few Takis of her own, I didn’t say “no.”
CREDIT: @colbertlateshow / Giphy.com
I didn’t want to have to hear how I was any less Latino because I can’t handle the spice. (I CAN.. sometimes)
But also Takis are mad good son, so I took some.
And then, because chips definitely have addictive properties, I kept helping myself to more.
Sidenote: I did this despite the fact that my entire mouth felt like a spate of flames had been set upon it.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that the bag I was eating up had a particularly spicey brand of Takis.
CREDIT: Alicia Keys / Youtube.com
You know you should be on high alert with a glass of water on standby when you find your Takis are dark brown and not bright red.
After I felt sufficiently full and as if my mouth couldn’t stand more of a burning…
I gulped down some water between spurts of coughs and went back to work.
CREDIT: @identity / giphy.com
Later on in the day, I headed out of work and to my car to go home. Takis were no longer on my mind and I was no longer attempting to choke through my tears so no one would call me out for being un llanto bebé.
But on my car ride home I realized there was something terribly wrong.
CREDIT: @am85 / Giphy.com
The roof of my mouth was speckled with red dots and was a bit itchy. Earlier that week I had already gone to urgent care after I had eaten sushi and got a chopstick splinter stuck in my tonsil (yah rubbing your sticks together is really important guys). I quickly began to panic and realized that not all of the splinter had been taken out (as I had feared) and that my mouth was infected.
I texted a picture of it to my mom, for some comfort.
CREDIT: “Riverdale” / CW
She’s a doctor, I figured she’d talk me down.
Instead, I got the fear of God instilled in me after she yelled at me to go urgent care right !! away!! or risk death.
She said and I quote “Alexandria! You are very sick! And you clearly have an infection that could spread to your brain and you could DIE! Go to Urgent Care this instant!”
(geez wonder where I get my anxiety from)
Things went down hill from there.
There were no urgent care centers open so so I waited all night alert of my impending death from meningitis until I could go the next day.
In the morning I hightailed it to the ONE urgent care I could find open at 8 am in Los Angeles.
I sat nervously in my doctor’s waiting room, wondering how many days I had to live until a nurse came and called me to the back.
After a few questions about my health and history from my doctor and an explanation of my chopstick splinter experience, he examined my mouth.
When he was done, he sat down and asked if I had “ever heard of Takis?”
CREDIT: reddit.com / giphy.com
Um why yes, of course, I had. “I just had some yesterday…”
Then my doctor explained to me that irritation on the roof of mouths is fairly common for people with Takis.
Then he charged me a $50 copay and sent me on my way.
And that folks, is the story of how I found out that those Takis did not come to play. In fact, they came for your paycheck.