Thoughts on a Coffee Mug

coffee mug with image of a duck

A well-used coffee mug

As of today, this part-time blogger has worked at his full-time job for eight years.  That’s a long time.  And, as it turns out, that’s a lot of coffee.

I showed a colleague from California how to use our non-intuitive single-serve coffee machines last week (the LA office uses much more efficient/less wasteful giant urns–my campaign to get ours replaced is a whole other topic).  After we got the mud flowing, I made a dumb joke that “after four thousand cups, you get pretty used to it.”

Not terribly funny, but it got me thinking: How many cups of coffee have I actually drunk here? Do I really want to know?

As it turns out, I’m way over that meager 4000-cup guess.  By my estimation, I have consumed somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,600 cups of coffee, just on this job, here at the office–and that’s a conservative estimate.

My math: three cups a day (it’s often four) x five days a week x 47 weeks a year (?) x eight years = ~5,640 cups.  That’s a lot of coffee!  I may treat my lungs like the Queen of Sheeba, but my entrails get the rented mule shuffle.

That made me think about the mug that has made the down-the-hall, around the bend, to the machine walk and refill journey with me right since the beginning.  It was a present from my former ESL student Tony back before I started this job–part of a wrapped gift package that also included a similar-but-different mug (birds maybe? I can’t remember–it’s long since gone) and a bag of coffee and some nuts (or something like that).  I think he got it at Big Lots.

The mug features two identical images of the same duck with a score of duck varieties named in different typefaces around the outside: King-Necked, Red-Crested, Gadwall, Mallard, Mottled, Pekin, Hookbill, etc.  Eight years of looking at that image and I still haven’t bothered to identify the type of duck pictured on the mug!

How many things get used 5,600 times without any kind of breakdown?  The only maintenance this mug has ever needed is its daily (minimal, I’m afraid) scrub before cup #1; the only wear and tear some thinning of the silk-screen (?) print job on the top lip-meets-brim edge; and (no surprise here) some staining on the inside.

I don’t know if I’ll still be pushing digits and influencing pixels in eight years, and I don’t know if my body will let me keep drinking black gold like it was holy water.  But to you, faithful duck mug, may we have another eight great years together!

Blogger with coffee mug and sad clown painting

The author on the job: you don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps to have a coffee mug.

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