This column is about interesting things I find at various Goodwills and other such thrift stores scattered across my city. And, like any curious being, I always wonder just how they came to be in these places, the circumstances that brought them there. I don’t mind admitting that I do sometimes invent stories for them. Who would part with their copy of Twain’s Life On The Mississippi gifted to them by an aunt that writes on the title page that she hopes they find their own adventure in life? Who gives up a sweet, vintage boombox with a worn cassette of Seal’s Crazy still tucked inside? Regardless of the answer, they somehow made their way to where I found them. Still, they’re things and it’s fun to assess things of their function and aesthetic, their continuing usefulness. This column hopes to do that just in case of the not probable (but never not zero!) chance you might encounter them in a another time and place.
Disappearing Dinosaur Mug and/or “Cricket’s Awesome Mug!”
You can have your coffee mugs with dinosaurs on them and you can have them scientifically correct with this particular one you can’t have both. The respective dinosaurs, a T-Rex and Brontosaurus (probably), actually existed about 90 million years apart, according to my cursory Google search, but they do disappear when you pour your hot liquid of choice in (which I guess is not totally disparate from the designs behind their fate). But to the bottom line: this is a sturdy mug and works as it should. However, the previous owner, someone named “Cricket,” has inscribed on the bottom that this is: “Cricket’s Awesome Mug!” While this doesn’t subtract from the mug’s utility or function it does give me pause to wonder about the fate of Cricket. How did such an “awesome” mug become separated from an owner that obviously thought very highly of it? Was it stolen? Perhaps left-behind in a blinding fit rage when Cricket was fired from a hated but well-paying office job they kept only in order to raise money to they could start that escape room business they and their friends had dreamed about for years? Of course it’s best not wonder if your lips are drinking from a cup where a dead person’s lips have been but it might cross your mind at least once. It did mine. The good news is that despite this morbidity the coffee I drank from it still tastes like coffee even though I find myself always sighing when the dinosaurs fade away.
Tyrel Kessinger is a stay-at-home dad of two wild animals. Occasionally, he finds time to write things, some of which can be found at Gargoyle, SLANT (forthcoming), Triggerfish Critical Review, Toasted Cheese, and Cease, Cows, among others. He also serves time as Associate Editor for Grey Sparrow and reader for Flash Fiction Online.