Photo: rez-art (iStock)

My fellow Americans, a silent tragedy plays out every day in this country. Across our fair land, 6.5 million of our brothers and sisters suffer every day in the shadows. But now that their plight has come to our attention, we can no longer ignore this chilling reality: 2% of Americans have never eaten a taco. What can each of us to do to reduce this disturbing statistic? Ask not what your country can do for you, ask your friends to make sure they’ve eaten a taco before. I propose a nationwide program of Taco Wellness Checks.

The harrowing statistic comes courtesy of food brand Ortega, which commissioned a Suzy poll of more than 8,600 Americans, asking them about taco preferences. We’ll get to results about toppings and tortilla styles in a bit, but the most shocking number is the 2% of people who claim to have never eaten a taco. [Outkast voice] Never, never ever, not never ever?

Last summer, my family was on vacation to Florida with my 87-year-old Oma in tow. After my brother and I and our significant others completed a successful fishing trip, we came back to the house we’d rented to cook fresh fish tacos for everyone. My Oma claimed, hand to god, she’d never eaten a taco before. I still find this hard to believe—just… how?—but she did seem genuinely perplexed by tortillas. She asked us how a person assembles and eats a taco.

That my Oma is not alone in her taco ignorance is shocking. What’s less shocking is that Arizona is the country’s top taco-consuming state, and that among Americans who have consumed tacos, a majority (53%) prefer soft shells to hard shells. Bravo. Cheese ranked as most states’ top taco topping—come on guys, salsa! But no matter how you top your taco or which tortillas you use, please, make sure you’re spreading the taco love to your friends and family. The only thing worse than a boring taco is no taco at all.