Those of us who work in a white-collar office inevitably accumulate office paraphernalia. We are allocated a cubicle, an office, or some other bland, generic space, and we bring in photos, artwork, and other items to personalize the otherwise depersonalized spaces. And we end up forming attachments to some of those items — so much so that we cannot imagine what it would be like to be at work without them nearby.
So it is with my coffee mug. It is a piece of light grey stoneware, with bold blue and brown horizontal stripes. The stamp on the bottom says “Lauffer Handcrafted Stoneware Ovenproof Japan.”
I’ve had this same mug for 28 years. It has faithfully accompanied me as I have studied for law school classes, worked on the Georgetown Law Journal, been a summer associate at two different law firms, clerked for a federal judge, and now worked at the firm for 24 years. Jane Tucker, our former downstairs neighbor at 1019 East Capitol Street in Washington, D.C., got me the mug as a good-luck-in-law-school present in the summer of 1982. It is a perfect office coffee cup — sturdy enough to stand some jostling and big enough to eliminate the need for constant coffee runs, with an ample surface area that allows the coffee to cool as I drink another slug. The glazing makes it easy to clean off most, and I emphasize most, of the accumulated coffee crud each morning. I appreciate its exquisite weight, and it feels good in my hand as I take the morning slurps. I can’t imagine working without it.