Stop it. Just stop.
Think about it. When was the last time you actually broke a mug? The fookers last forever. You can drop them, bang them into the sink, shot-put them. And if you do chip the lip, it ends up with pencils or something in it.
When the Engineer joined a fencing club for a while, he got a mug with his membership. Last year he changed jobs, and his new employer presented him with safety equipment and an enormous mug. The year he turned fifty his family gave him a mug decorated with a complex mathematical formula yielding that number. That was a year or two after they gave him his second oversized Doctor Who mug with a disappearing Tardis.
My clients are lovely people who like to remember my birthday. They give me mugs.
I have a pottery kink, and what do potters make more of than anything else? You guessed it. (Try, just try, finding a dinner plate at the Hand and Kiln Collective.)
As winter set in and I found I could see and maneuver decently for the first time in a few years, I started extruding the closets, shelves and cupboards. There were mugs going back to the horrible job I had in the early 80s. There were mugs slid off on me by people who’d obviously received them as some sort of promotion and didn’t have space for them either. I lost an hour of my life that I won’t get back, stuffing newspaper and bubble wrap around them, to join the donation pile that has now crept up to about 25 boxes of assorted clothes I’ll never wear again, dishes I’ll never use and gizmos I never even tried out. Damn it feels good taping those boxes shut.
We sat down on Christmas morning and opened an omnibus box of gifts from a branch of the Engineer’s family out of state. In seventeen years, I have never actually had a direct conversation with this couple or their two sons, but at Christmas, apparently, it is imperative to perform gift-giving.
There was a jigsaw puzzle, which we don’t have space to put together, a set of the ugliest cereal bowls I have ever seen in my life and — engrossed with truly hideous Eight-Year-Old-Kid Art by one of those online companies where you can upload your original design — a gigantic mug.
Really, it’s okay not to give people something if you don’t know them well enough to know what they’d like. And don’t say “gift card.” I have a gift certificate — probably expired, but who can read that tiny print — to a theater chain where we never go, which has been stuck to the front door with a fridge magnet since just before it became too dangerous to go to a movie theater. Save your money.
At least, for the love of God, stop giving people mugs.