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Ode to a Mug

I first met Mitchell in 1998 at my local AM PM. I’m not sure what brought me in that fateful day, but I know that I left with 52 ounces of Mountain Dew and a new companion. From the day forward, Mitchell and I would be inseparable. Here’s a picture of Mikayla and Mitchell. He’s the one in the back.

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Yes, Mitchell is my mug. He’s insulated, well-worn, has a great seal, and has been with me for just about a decade. He was named Mitchell after the MST3K version of the Joe Don Baker movie because he was huge, hold the potential to hold a lot of alcohol, and inexplicably had a woman on him.

The biggest problem in those early days was that Mitchell had no straw. For almost a year I made do with swigging, but then, on a trip to Disneyland, I found the flexible tube straw you see in the picture above. It’s the perfect size to fit into the hole provided, and it bends whichever way you want. Sure, if you leave it in the fridge it gets all stiff, but it’s fine after a few minutes. Disneyland stopped selling those straws right after I purchased one.

Mountain Dew has always been my drink of choice, and it was what I put into Mitchell the most in the beginning. 52 ounces of Mountain Dew is far more than you should drink in a day (a two-liter is 67 ounces), but I did it with frightening regularity. When Dew was scarce I would brew up some Kool Aide right in Mitchell: packet of flavor, a goodly amount of sugar, water, stir. Recently, though, Mitchell has been used almost exclusively for water. One tray of ice plus Brita water to the top will get me through the day at the office; I usually slurp the last drops out on my way to the car.

Mitchell likes to travel. Aside from riding shotgun with his handle snugly latched over the reclining trigger of my passenger seat, he has followed me on three trips to Europe, plus numerous car rides hither and yon. Fill up Mitchell and he’ll take you far. Sonja and I have made it to San Jose from Costa Mesa on one mug full. He’s been to the weddings of numerous friends.

Which is why it came as quite a blow when we lost Mitchell today. We took him out to a ball game and apparently left him outside the car as we got Mikayla and her ten thousand assorted accessories safely ensconced inside. He’s ten but he doesn’t have a cell phone to call us, and he doesn’t know his way home, so I went looking for him as soon as we figured it out.

I kept checking my speed as I drove over there; I felt like I was speeding (I wasn’t).

I looked in the area around where we parked. I looked under the cars that had taken the spots in the ensuing three hours. I checked the nearby curbs to see if some kind soul had perched him there to wait for his family. I checked the grandstands where a girl’s little league game was going on, trophies at the ready. I peered into the office to see if he had been locked inside. I looked in the trash cans. I looked in the dumpster. If I had found him in any of those locations, I would have brought him home and washed him.

But I didn’t find him. Tomorrow I’ll go back and see if maybe he was turned in after I left, or beforehand but wasn’t visible in the office. I’ll make another round and see if he’s turned up. I’ll call around to see if anyone from the game has him. But it doesn’t look good. Who would rescue a battered old mug?

Mitchell, if you’re out there, I hope that whoever did find you plans on putting you to use. You’ve been a good mug to me, and if it was time to move on, I understand. But I would have liked to say goodbye to you directly. This meager internet post will have to suffice to carry my heartfelt thanks and grateful memories. Godspeed to you.