Sunday, May 05, 2013

Mug Shot

I’ve never been a particularly handy guy.

Whenever any device or object I own breaks down my first thoughts are either “who do I call to fix it?” or “where can I get a new one?”

I’ve never crawled under the sink to fix a pipe, lifted a car hood to tinker with the engine, or opened up the back of radio except to change the batteries.

I don’t paint, plaster, spackle, varnish, scrape, file or saw. I don’t wear overalls, safety glasses, workman’s boots, or tool belts.

Many people live for a do-it-yourself project, God bless them, and I’m sure they’re saving money and feeling pretty good about themselves for taking matters into their own hands. Me, I just reach for the phone.

My last repair job was about a year ago when I glued the handle back on to a coffee mug my company had given out for Earth Day.

I had managed to break the thing in under a month and while I don’t drink coffee, I do guzzle gallons of tea during the day, so going mugless was not an option. I could’ve asked for a new cup, but I decided that no, damn it, I was going to fix this thing myself.

I got some industrial strength glue and did the job in a snap. I was so proud of myself you would’ve thought I’d overhauled a jet engine, but I couldn’t help it.

Every time I looked at that tiny crack on the handle I’d smile and think yeah, I fixed that.

Then one day not too long ago I look at my mug and noticed the crack wasn’t there. I had done a respectable job repairing the thing, but it certainly wasn’t that good. What could be the explanation for this? It took me a few seconds, but then I got it.

I had somebody else’s mug.

The only way this could have happened is when I stopped at the men’s room on the way to get more tea.

I leave the mug on a shelf outside the lavatory, like a lot of other guys do, and I must’ve picked up the wrong mug on the way out. Or someone had picked up mine.

Cup Yours

My first impulse was to gag at the thought of ingesting somebody else’s germs and dunk my head into a bucket of rubbing alcohol for some serious disinfecting.

But then I realized that I’ve been filling the cup with boiling water every day and zapping it in the microwave—I like my tea hot—so any microscopic marauders must have been long since vaporized.

The mugs all look the same, of course, since it’s company issue. Still, this isn’t my mug. It doesn’t have the scar, the mileage, the memories that we shared over the last year or so.

But my cup could be with any one of the men on my floor and I wasn’t about to do a cube-by-cube search just to find the correct clone.

I had just about forgotten this tempest in teacup when I walked into the company kitchen last week and saw one of my co-workers making a cup of coffee.

He’s one of the many people I’ve seen every day for years without speaking to or even acknowledging. I don’t know his name or what he does, but it’s not out of animosity. It’s just a gap that neither one of us ever tried to bridge.

I was stepping around this man went something told me to check out his cup and there it was—the tiny crack around the handle. This mug had my mug!

But what do I do? Say something like, excuse me, I know we’ve never spoken to each other once in the last five years, but I took your coffee mug outside the can and I’d like mine back? It just didn’t sound right.

So I kept my mouth shut and walked out of the kitchen. I’m not sure what to do now. I can wait until the next time this guy gets a refill and tell him the story. Maybe I could hang around after work one night and sneak into his office to make the switch.

Or I can just let it go. My mug has a new owner now and they seem quite happy together. The guy hasn’t noticed the change, which means I did a pretty good repair job. Maybe I can be a handy guy after all.

I think I’ll try some sandblasting.


Ron said...


Rob, this post was HILARIOUS! And the whole time I was reading it, I kept envisioning the I Love Lucy episode where she had to make a 'switch' from the train tickets that she and Ricky had, to the ones that Ethel and Fred had. was HYSTERICAL!

"My last repair job was about a year ago when I glued the handle back on to a coffee mug my company had given out for Earth Day."

I am the SAME WAY! I fix NOTHING. And that's one of the reasons why I choose to rent an apartment, rather than ever own a home. If something goes wrong, I just pick up the phone and call maintenance :)

"Maybe I could hang around after work one night and sneak into his office to make the switch. "

Yup, that's what I would do because if he didn't notice that he had your cup and not his, then he certainly won't notice the switch.

GREAT post, buddy. You truly write such awesome comedy! Love the photos too!

Have a super week!

Walaka said...

Print off the blog post and leave it on desk.

Rob K said...

Good plan

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Hahahahahahahahaha!!!! That is SO funny!

I can imagine you eyeballing that mug in the kitchen, while the poor, unsuspecting guy was making his coffee!

How do you get your beautifully repaired mug-with-the-mileage back? I dunno .. but I think I'd opt for the sneaky switch. Or I suppose you could haunt that shelf outside the men's room! LOL!

Rob K said...

@Ron, hey, buddy!

I've been thinking more about owning a home, but if I ever do, I'm going to need a whole team of maintenance people.

I think there's a lot of people who do their own repairs, but who aren't very good at it. At least you and I are honest about it!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Take care!

Bijoux said...

First, I like that you decided to fix the Earth Day mug. That's very save-the-planety of you, Rob!

My spouse tries to fix things, but it rarely comes out well. I remember the time he installed a new kitchen faucet and the water flow never was normal afterwards. The plumber that I eventually called said it was because he failed to flush out the line, but even after the plumber did it, still had problems!

Me, if I can't use a hammer or a hot glue gun on it, it doesn't get fixed.

Rob K said...

@Jay--hey, there, what's up?

I'm not sure what to do at this point, but I suppose I could hang around the men's room. It's just that my co-workers are liable to think I'm a freak--if they don't think that already!

Thanks for stopping by!

Flatbush Gardener said...

Do a deliberate, surreptitious swap. I bet he even leaves "his" mug on his desk.

You did such a great job, he's probably never even noticed the crack. For you, the crack has meaning. That's your crack! Take back your crack.

Rob K said...

@Bijoux--hey, what's going on?

"Me, if I can't use a hammer or a hot glue gun on it, it doesn't get fixed."

Oh, that's my story in a nutshell. And I'm not so sure I could work a glue gun!

I give your spouse credit for trying to fix things, but there comes a time when you have to call in for reinforcements. I just go straight to surrender.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

Rob K said...

@Flatbush(Xris)--Take Back the Crack!

If that's not a t-shirt slogan I don't know what it is. I'll have to work up my nerve for a surreptitious swap but I must have my crack back!

CrystalChick said...

Haha! I'm reading this and thinking about the old lamp in my kitchen right now. No shade and questionable wiring... because it was from the basement. A lamp in the basement can only mean there's something wrong with it, right? Anyway, so it's in my kitchen because our overhead light burnt out last night... the one my husband installed last year. Pretty freakin' proud of himself because he does all the painting, spackling and varnishing you mentioned, but generally never ventures too far into the area of electrical wiring. Hopefully, the fix only involves new specialty bulbs from the Depot.

Visiting by way of Bijoux and Ron.

Very funny post. Enjoyed it.

Rob K said...

Hey, CrystalChick, thanks for stopping by!

Love the lamp story! It's nice sprucing up old lamps, but that wiring can get pretty funky. Let's hope a new bulb does the trick!

Take care!