Let's let the owl explain:
And thus was the challenge issued. You can't let a statement like that go unanswered, can you? I set out with my daughter to do a trial run, but her result -- 614 licks -- is merely one lonely, unscientific anecdote. (I didn't manage to actually count at all. Oops!)
There have been a few valiant efforts to find the truth of this matter, but none have achieved anything like a conclusive sample size, and have omitted factors that might be key to finding your PTPLE (Personal Tootsie Pop Licking Estimate), such as tongue width and Tootsie Pop flavor. Even if I were to lobby every friend I have to conduct this experiment, few would follow through, and I would wind up with paltry tens of data points, if that.
But we live in an era of phenomenal crowdsourcing and collaboration. There is no reason we can't all get together to create a conclusive formula establishing the PTPLE. And so, one and all, I invite you to conduct your own one-person Tootsie Pop experiments and record the results in our Google Spreadsheet.
Soon, thanks to all of you, the world will finally know... how many licks DOES it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?