Reasons why using mugs you hate can be a good strategy

Is someone who steals other people's work mugs a cup-leptomaniac?

There was a cup-leptomaniac in a previous school I worked in. You could try to keep your own, dedicated mug in the staff room cupboard, but it wouldn't last long. Someone would lift it, perhaps thinking, 'I'll bring that back later.'  Or perhaps, 'I'll sell that on e-bay with the other ninety-six.'

Even now, eight years since I left that school, I'm sure teachers are unearthing stolen mugs in dark corners of classrooms, cultivating a foot of green moss over a spongy layer of prehistoric coffee.

However, it was a boys' school, with mainly male teachers, and I found a cunning plan to make sure I kept my own mug for most of the time I was there.

I bought this.

Four years. Four years, I managed to keep this mug for myself before it was stolen a fortnight before I left.

While I've been writing this, I've remembered. I put some verses about my cheesy kitten mug into the leaving speech poem I delivered on my last day at that school. They went like this.

I’ll also miss the Staff Room and its kitchen:
The Bermuda Triangle for Mugs, it’s true.
I miss my cheesy kitten mug especially.
(You should be feeling guilty if it’s you.)

It cost me just a quid somewhere in Hounslow;
The cheesiest kitten face you ever saw.
Now Kitty’s festering somewhere in a corner

with mould and mildew on each little paw.

A colleague in the English Department was notorious for using other people's mugs then leaving them on windowsills, coffee half-drunk. Somehow it became my job to clear up after her. I wrote a verse about her, too, in the poem. Names have been changed to protect the definitely-guilty. 

I’ll miss Mary's mould formations in the coffee
that she’d made, but then forgot to drink.
They were beautiful, those different types of fungi
but a bugger to force down the kitchen sink.

Do you have a favourite mug? I always have a current favourite. We're very good at smashing mugs in our house on our stone-tiled floor, so I get to ring the changes often.

This month, it's one my sister bought for my birthday when I was in Cornwall with her, in the seaside town of Looe.  Appropriately, it's a mug with a fish design. It looks like this.

Ha ha. Not really! It's not as crass as that. But you believed me, didn't you? You weren't at all surprised. 

No, it's more like this one. 

No, not that one either. But it made me laugh. 

*goes back to Google*

*comes back, feeling stoopid*

Dur! Why don't I take a picture of the mug? 

I am so dim. I am also nearly 54 and so not techno-natural. 

I'll go and do the picture. Wait around a while. I am to smart-phone operation what Frankenstein's creature was to the supermodel industry.

I'm back. Did you have a nice fortnight?

Here it is. 

Say hello to it. It'll only be a week or two before it dies a tragic death on our kitchen floor.

Tell me your own muggy stories. Or if you want to own up to being a cup-leptomaniac, I'd like to hear about that, too. I won't turn you in. Unless you stole my cheesy cat mug. 


  1. Hello Doomed Mug, you are beautiful.

    How true your post is! There are those people who take another's mug unconsciously but those who steal intentionally are truly evil muggers.

    I have three favorite cups. #1 is for drinking freshly brewed ginger and green tea. It was hand-thrown, so it is thick. It is embellished with stars and waves and a mermaid. #2 is a cream colored interior and turquoise exterior that says, Trust the Universe.

    #3 hit the floor and is no more.

    Side note: Did you know that the water left on the bottom of a mug in the dishwasher is called a mug puddle?

    1. Muggers! Of course! I wish I'd thought of that. And no I didn't know about mug puddles. But then we don't have a dishwasher. Yet. One day, we will. I am determined ...

  2. At your school, did colleagues steal each other's lunches out of the refrigerator too? I understand that's a big problem in some workplaces. Or did crime pertain only to mugs?

    1. I do remember a 'Sandwich-gate' situation at one school. Someone left a very angry note in the fridge where their missing sandwich would have been.

    2. I once made a sandwich with very hot chopped chillies, tabasco sauce and crushed eggshells, specially for the thief. Thievery stopped after that.

    3. Ha ha! Did you really?! That taught them!

  3. I would go insane over mugs left sitting around. I don't like anything sitting around, especially people. At the last doctor's office where I worked, the microwave was so filthy that I brought patient care to a halt one day while I cleaned it. Damn patients had no business getting hurt and then crying to me anyway. I forgot to bring my mugs when I got divorced. X wouldn't give them to me. He's a fucker. Pardon my language. I bought Le Creuset mugs in pretty colors, but they don't make up for the loss of my funny mugs. My favorite had God playing Jeopardy! His score was huge.


    1. That made me laugh! I love your line 'I don't like anything sitting around, especially people.' Brilliant.

  4. Yes but Fran, what about pens? In any communal working environment they do get 'borrowed' and disappear at the speed of light. I once worked in an office where I gave up relying on finding any office pen at all in my drawer or on my desk longer than a few minutes. Eventually I brought in my own pink Lamy fountain pen and guarded it fiercely, daring anybody to even borrow it from me.

  5. if they would borrow the mug, and bring it back.
    But the mug went off on a few days excursion ... I remember it well!

    1. Mugs like these little package holidays to other people's offices.

  6. I learned quickly the only way to keep my own mug safe was to stash it in my locker, which I did of course and kept the same mug for the ten years I was there.
    There's not a lot of mug breaking around here, so my favourite mugs are easily 12-15 years old and still in use, except one which has a crack down the cup right beside the handle. Not a deep crack, but I don't use it in case the handle gives way and I get a lap full of hot coffee. It hangs on a high hook now, out of reach, but still oh-so-pretty that I can't bring myself to throw it away.

    1. Ah, I know what you mean about the mug with the hairline crack in it and the threat of coffee-in-the-lap. It makes for tense coffee drinking!

  7. I like chunky mugs for coffee & bone china for tea... they just don't get it at work; what's not to get ?

  8. We once lived in a flat onsite at a school where my husband worked. I used to periodically go all over the empty school retrieving all the mugs that had migrated from our kitchen to the staffroom via husband then been carried off by someone else to far off classrooms! Particulary annoying when I was given a lovely matched set -but I could at least prove they were all ours.

  9. Youngest daughter , who shared a student flat with eight others for years , says it wasn't so much the mugs or that the milk carton was always empty . It was the way knickers kept on vanishing from the drying racks in the laundry room...

    1. Fortunately, having my pants stolen is not a problem I encounter at school.

  10. You had better not smash it!! Sister x

    1. I'll do my best! (Not to, obviously.)

  11. .. we always had migrating mugs where I worked... it was a bit of a worry when some exited the building never to beseen again.... those of us who had their own special mugs refused to let anybody handle them... we did our own tea and coffee pouring and our own washing up of said mugs......
    In retirement I have a few 'special' migs and cycle through them regularly.
    Have a great day Fran.....
    hugs... Barb xxx


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