A Jolly Good Time

When you sucked on a Jolly Rancher long enough, they became this rubbery tongue depressor that changed the color of your mouth. They were not solid, like a butterscotch, which became a shard of sticky glass at the end. They were not chewy, like caramels, which fused your teeth together until saliva freed you, eventually. Name-brand Jolly Ranchers were something in between—a sticky miracle of science. 

You were not cool in the second grade if you didn’t have access to a Jolly Rancher at all times. I did not. I so, so, so desperately wanted that kind of connection, but my parents never bought them, and I never had the courage to ask. I knew the answer already, and I knew how irritated the mere request would make my father. 

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