I’m Glen Coco From Mean Girls, And Your Holiday Will Never Be As Good As The One Where I Got Four Candy Canes Delivered To Me In Class
You can just delete those discounted twinkle lights and flannel pajama sets from your Amazon cart now. There’s no point. Not now, not ever.
I have felt peak holiday cheer and experienced an inner warmth that burns hotter than all the fireplaces adorned by all the stockings. That shines brighter than all the stars atop all the trees. That provides more comfort than all the weighted blankets piled on top of each other and arranged in such a way that you can still breathe comfortably.
When I was in eleventh grade, my school did Candy Cane Grams, where we could buy candy canes and send them to each other under the guise of holiday spirit. Everyone saw exactly how many friends cared enough about you to spend a dollar and write your name on a card. And I received four — FOUR! — candy canes. And not those tiny stupid ones that come in sleeves of plastic. Full-sized candy canes in actual shrink-wrap.
Getting those candy canes was the single greatest moment of my life. And I don’t just mean in my life up to that point. I mean my entire life. Damian, who was playing Santa, said “Four for you, Glen Coco! You go, Glen Coco!” like he really meant it. As he tossed them to me, the true meaning of Christmas filled my soul, and I experienced a sort of festive euphoria that lasted until the bell rang.
I saw all Christmases: past, present, and future. My soul left my body and flew around the classroom in Santa’s sleigh, looking down upon the other losers in my class with loser friends who didn’t care as much as mine. I smelled every gingerbread cookie ever baked. I heard every Pentatonix Christmas song in one mash-up (and this was years before the group formed). I decked all the halls, jingled all the bells, rocked around all the Christmas trees, and walked in all the winter wonderlands, without even leaving my metal public school chair.
Since then, things have been… okay, I guess. I was valedictorian. I earned a scholarship to my first choice school. Graduated summa cum laude. Got married. Bought a nice house with lots of tall shrubs in the yard. Had triplets. Rescued six golden doodles. Launched a start-up to take the concept of candy cane grams global, and then sold Glen Grams up for seven hundred million dollars. Funded the cure for cancer. Got a Nobel Prize. And I’ve been on every 30 Under 30 list that ever existed and even a few that didn’t and were made just so I could be put on them (“Glen Under 30”). So things have mostly worked out.
But every time the holidays come around, pangs of longing and despair reappear, steadfast and reliable as an old-ass fruitcake. I’m like a gift box underneath a tree in a department store window display — empty. Trapped. No matter how many fresh evergreen garlands the company we hire hangs on our banister, no matter how many carols Mariah Carey sings live at our private parties catered by Martha Stewart and Prue from Great British Bake-Off, no matter how many boxes of Ivy Park that Beyoncé sends, and how often my best friends Barack and Michelle invite me and my family over… it just doesn’t compare to that one shining moment when I meant something to somebody on such a pure, molecular level. When somebody cared enough to spend a dollar and write my name on a simple card, attached to a full-sized candy cane.
Or four somebodies, to be exact.
Four for me.
I’m Glen Coco.