Monday, 25 April 2011
the mug on my desk
Approximately three years ago I embarked on a life-style choice that, to this day, has me baffled. I became an English Literature student at the University of Portsmouth, thus barring myself from any form of lucrative lifestyle and limiting my upper earning bracket to that of a low-paid shoe-shine boy. But though I continue to seek sympathy in that regard, it is on a side effect of this choice that I wish to parley. In effect, I began to drink tea.
Regardless of how much you might like to read as a hobby, when forced to read lengthy Jane Austen novels (where much is pondered but little happens) one's concentration tends to fail like a gigolo starved of oxygen. Thus it becomes necessary to imbibe stimulants. Not being a fan of cocaine, my immediate thought was tea - and what a reliable mixture it has been to me this past hat-trick of solar circumferencing! But it has only been so reliable because of its container.
It is now therefore that we finally pass through this lengthy and pretentious introduction to the matter at hand: to wit - the mug on my desk - because what is tea without its container, but a mass of scolding, staining liquid?
Starting with appearances, the mug's Very Hungry Caterpillar motif instantly draws the eye. As an erstwhile avid reader of this canonical example of children's literature, the picture immediately draws upon fond memories of more innocent times, transporting the user back to infancy and allowing for brief intermittent moments of calm in the hectic schedule of life. The smiling sun, the seemingly expressionless yet somehow Buddha-like bearing of the caterpillar and the concluding image of the butterfly remind us of the story, its optimistic conclusion and what it meant to us as children. Perhaps we have not yet lost that hope for ourselves. Perhaps, though we have become obese, greedy and lazy in our sedentary lifestyles we hope that we too might eventually emerge from out own metamorphosis with giant wings and penchant for nectar.
In the mug's enamel frame we find a suitable vessel for the conveyance of scolding liquid, the handle allowing one to carry it without fear of damage to oneself. Before the addition of such a handle, I imagine one would either have to wait for the tea to cool to a lower temperature - that better suited the hand but not the tastebuds -, or would have to wear gloves in order to drink tea in its ideal state. The handle can perhaps be regarded as a work of true genius, asserting the claim that "necessity is the mother of all creation".
All good however must come to an end, and this mug is no exception. Having scored high on the practical side, I must call certain aspects of its aesthetic demenour into question - in other words the attached used teabag and the consequent stains.
The teabag (being of the peppermint variety) has created a rather vulgar greeny-brown scum which tarnishes the enamel whiteness of the vessel, reminding one of mould, pond-weed, or at the uppermost extreme off-colour diarrhea. Such associations tarnish any of the mug's sanitary assertions, certainly when a simple scrub with hot water and a brillo pad would have done so much to save its reputation. It seems then, that to continue to have stains on the cup is a sign of laziness and as such is denotive of sin.
To conclude, the mug is overall a particularly useful piece of kit and has been of great use to me, carrying with it a sense of nostalgia which cheers me from day to day. However the staining and obvious lack of hygiene standards cause it to lose marks.
On the universal scale of percentage, I dub this mug 75%