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Drinking like a True Detective

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 12:32am

A person can waste a lot of time on the Internet, especially on Facebook. But it is also an easy and fun way to stay in touch with friends and relatives. I love seeing what my grandkids or nieces and nephews are doing—you can literally see kids growing up online.

I really like being able to stay in touch with my sister in Missouri; my friends in Wisconsin, Illinois, Alaska and Florida; my cousins on the Iron Range and former co-workers across the country. The distance doesn’t seem so far when we touch bases with notes and photos—and jokes.

I really like the little inspirational quotes and silly thoughts that get posted and shared. It tickles me when my cousin on the Iron Range shares the same joke as my friend in Florida. It is amazing how fast things can travel on the Internet!

That happened this week with a silly coffee-themed post. The post included a simple black and white line sketch of a coffee cup and the declaration, “I can’t stop drinking the coffee… If I stop drinking the coffee, I stop doing the standing and the walking and the words-putting-into-sentence doing.”

Me, drinking from my Big Hug Mug. Priceless!

It made me laugh out loud—LOL— for the folks that like using the Internet abbreviations for everything. And it helped me make the decision about my topic for Unorganized Territory this week.

I was waffling over writing about coffee cups again—my theme in the last two columns. I didn’t set out to write a trio of essays about coffee mugs, but somehow the topic keeps coming to mind. I think this will be the last column on coffee cups, but I can’t promise—longtime readers may remember a string of columns about pink flip-flops a few years ago.

This week I’m looking at my “Big Hug Mug” cup again. During the week I’ve used several other cups—my cute Tazmanian Devil mug, my souvenir Tower of London cup, and the pretty “Grandma” mug with the names of all five grandkids, a present from my dear sister-in-law.

I have not used my Big Hug Mug lately. Thanks to the Internet, I’m a bit nervous about using—and breaking it. When I wrote the first column I searched the Internet for information about the Big Hug Mug. I know how and when I got mine, but I wanted to confirm my memory. Was it an FTD Floral campaign? Was it popular in the 1980s? Yes and yes.

However, I was amazed to learn that the Big Hug Mug is in great demand, thanks to an earlier appearance in a Matthew McConaughey HBO movie True Detective. I have never watched True Detective, but according to the Internet, a Big Hug Mug sits on the table where McConaughey’s character Rustin “Rust” Cohle writes up his reports. Also according to the Internet, unlike Otis in Chicago Fire, McConaughey’s character is never seen actually drinking from the mug.

But that does not stop fans of the movie from wanting their own Big Hug Mugs. They are available on Ebay at premium prices—google it yourself and you can see the promotion, “Drink coffee like a True Detective.”

There is one on Ebay, described as “Excellent, Near-Flawless Condition. No Chips, Scratches or Stains. Vivid Color” with bids currently reaching $83. According to blogger Hugh Merwin on GrubStreet.com, who also wrote a column about the Big Hug Mug, a mug recently sold for $97.

That is far more than what my friends paid for my original Big Hug Mug with the flowers and teddy bear that came with it. And it creates a little temptation for me. Should I sell my Big Hug Mug? If demand is high and quantity is low, the asking price for the funky orange mug will only increase. Should I put it away in another cupboard where it is safe from breakage?

I didn’t consider selling my Big Hug Mug for long. The going rate is not worth the time and effort to take a photo, post it to Ebay, oversee the bidding, and then package and mail it to a buyer. But more important than not having time to be an Internet vendor is the sentimental value of the cup.

It was sent to me at a time when I was feeling sick and sad. It brightened my day then and every time I pull it out of the cupboard it makes me feel good again. Knowing that it is worth $80 or so adds to the enjoyment. It’s crazy that someone will spend that much for a coffee cup, so it makes me laugh.

But truly, knowing that someone cares is what makes the Big Hug Mug precious. That is something money can’t buy.

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Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Oscar Wilde


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