Tuesday, February 14, 2006

mug shots



Brent and I bought some new coffee mugs this week. Since you can't see all of the message on the mug at right, here is what it says: "The Diocese of New Jersey: resisting simplistic theology since 1785."

We have a nice mug collection. It occurred to me in surveying it that mugs really say quite a lot about a person, or a household. They're as expressive as T-shirts, or perhaps even more so, since you feel less inhibited about something written on a mug than something emblazoned on your chest with your face above it, walking around all day.

There are the mugs that match our everyday china: lovely curvy ones whose shape retains heat and keeps your coffee warm longer. They're pretty. We use them when we invite people to dinner. Then there's the pair of Hull pattern mugs picked up at a flea market because it reminded me of grandparents, which I always use for hot chocolate, because they're so nice and warm and brown. Then the set of three plain white diner-type mugs that actually are inherited from grandparents, Brent's grandfather, to be exact. Then there are the random single mugs: a free one picked up at the TBA with a picture of Miller Chapel on it; a black one declaring "stolen from the City Cafe, Murfreesboro, TN" although my dad bought it for me for $2; the one Brent picked up for me a while back just for fun with Rosie the Riveter on it. I used to have a John Deere mug, but I think I must have left it in the Grad Commons at ACU...

My travel mugs are especially precious to me although some of them are so old and well-used now that the ink has worn completely off in spots, so that you can no longer immediately tell that they're all Coffee People mugs supplied by my favorite Harding roommate, from Portland, Oregon. I also have this confounded inability to hold on to them, so that what should be a collection of at least 7 is down to three, and two lids between them. Mostly I've lost them by leaving them in various classrooms over the years, or on the roofs of cars.

My mom and dad's mug collection is probably unsurpassed in all the world for breadth and deapth and overall randomness as well as quirky personal expression. Of course, it helps to know that when my dad used to work for Webb's, he brought home free mugs nearly by the truckload from annual coffee conventions during my childhood.

These new mugs register the latest installment of the evolution of our life together here, as Brent moves into the ordination process and embraces life as an Episcopalian. Maybe in a few months we'll acquire yet another mug registering the major upheaval of "Baby _____'s" arrival.

So I'm curious: what do you drink your coffee out of in the morning? What does your mug say and what does it say about you? Some of you people, I've seen your mugs, I know how weird you are. I dare you to share with all the supposedly normal people who might be reading this.

8 comments:

Greg Kendall-Ball said...

My mug is one I "stole" from my mom a few years ago. I think it was when I left for college. It's been in the family as long as I can remember (at least back to the house in Sevierville, and I was 6 or 7 at the time).

It says, on one side, "WARNING: LEFT HANDED MUG. DRINK FROM OTHER SIDE."

and on the other, "I'M A LEFT HANDED PERSON IN A RIGHT HANDED WORLD."

And they're both written on some sort of warning sign.

It has permanent marks on the bottom from being stirred so often, and has survived two transcontinental relocations. I will shed honest-to-goodness tears if something bad ever happens to that one!

Sloane said...

From one of these.

hope said...

My "Happy Bunny" mug emblazoned with a smug pink bunny with the caption, "I know how you feel. I just don't care."

Em* united me with my knit raspberry hat this week. It rocks.

R-Liz said...

My favorite mug was one a co-worker brought back for me after she was at a meeting for Lilly Pharmaceuticals. It simply said, "Prozac." It was meant to get out the name, but I thought it said a lot about two of America's favorite addictions (caffeine and psychotropics), coming together in one mug-experience.

TKP said...

Hey Jen, I'll tell you about Brittany's collection. Her favourite mug is this multi-blue mug from Starbucks, which, if I ever broke, would result in my death. She has several pretty mugs from Starbucks, including a red flower one to replace a red mug I bought her with the word "love" on it that she accidentally broke in the sink. I gave her heck for that one. Then there's an orange mug I bought in Princeton with Guess Who? at the Small World Coffee cafe. She has a mug from a friend who traveled to Europe, and I am supposed to be on the look out for a cool Japanese mug.

The only mug I have is a brown one with light green interior that has a chip on it. I'm boring like that.

JTB said...

One of my favorite mugs in college was a tall straight pottery mug that was dark brown on the outside and light green around the rim and inside. It was one of a pair. I gave the other to my roommate--aforementioned Coffee People travel mug supplier--and we called them our "tree mugs."

JTB said...

Yay, Hope has her raspberry hat! I loved that one. I thought the color was beautiful and I bet it's just smashing with your dark hair!

pat said...

Two of my personal favorites say "Science never sucks" and the ther one has Einstein on it and says "Get a half-life!" Dad and I do have an awesome eclectic collection of mugs. I also love to drink out of the one that says "Degas" across it written in his signature. Not flashy, just good to drink out of. I think if you love your coffee or tea, mugs do tell a story. Otherwise, they are just random dishware.