Big Billy – The mug shot

Anybody who knows me knows I got a pretty good knack for findin’ free stuff. My philosophy is, when you get somethin’ for free, then you get somethin’ without payin’ for it, so no matter what it is you’re gettin’, you’re better off after ya get it. Minnie’s philosophy, on the other hand, is – what in the hell are ya gonna do with that thing?

Of course, I think I told yis, this came to a head before over all my beer glasses. Used to Big BIllybe on top of the cupboards all the way around the kitchen there was all kinds of beer glasses. I kept addin’ to them until they got to be two rows deep all the way across the cupboards. A lot of them were just from liquor store promotions where ya get a free glass if you buy this kind or that kind (and we all know I ain’t picky), but I also had a lot of good ones, like from the Coal Bowl years ago, or a beer gardens when I was a young fella.

Now when I looked up on top of the cupboards and seen all them beer glasses on display, I always thought to myself right proud – I never paid a cent for any one of them glasses. Of course, Minnie looked up there and said – when are we gonna need 50-some beer glasses all at once? Maybe you could get by with just five or six for yourself. And I fought her on it, but in the end it just wasn’t worth fightin’ over an old Schooner beer stein with the label all faded off, or an old Labatt 50 glass with three inches of dust in the bottom of it. So I kept a few favourites and they’re above one cupboard.

But like I said, I’m right mental for free stuff. So after Minnie cracked down on the beer glasses, just by coincidence that next week I got two free coffee mugs. I won a radio station mug in a call-in contest and the other one a buddy at the mall gave me just for fillin’ out a credit card application (I put Cyril’s name at the top and gave them a phony address and phone number).

Well, with two free mugs, I was well on my way, and that’s when the cupboard under the beer glasses started fillin’ up with coffee mugs. For a while, it seemed like I got one everywhere I went, and these weren’t even places that were givin’ them away. Like when Minnie made me go to pay the insurance on the truck, I seen the girl at the front desk had a mug with the insurance company logo on it. So I asked for it, and then raised a fuss when she said they didn’t have anymore, until finally, she downed what was left of her coffee, rinsed out the mug and gave it to me. Another time at Tim Horton’s when we ran into our buddy Kevin, I convinced him the best way to promote his little drywall business was to invest in some coffee cups with his name on them. Two weeks later, I had a plain white mug that said “Kevin’s Drywall” and a phone number.

At first, Minnie actually liked it when the free mugs started rollin’ in. Especially the radio station mug, because it was the station she listens to every day. And I guess she figured, unlike my beer glasses, she’d actually get some use out of a mug since she drinks tea all the time but never drinks beer.

The fatal mistake I made was the day I came home from doin’ a little job with Cyril with a mug from a lumber yard. Cyril was spendin’ a bunch of money on paint and paintin’ supplies, so I said to the buddy behind the counter, least ya could do is throw in a free mug.

Look at this! I said, comin’ in the door, showin’ her. Another one to add to the collection!

As soon as she heard the word “collection” I could see her givin’ me a little bit of stink-eye. And sure enough, that was when she started to turn on me. After that, when I’d come home with a mug, she’d say somethin’ like – Oh, just what we need, another mug.

Now, the cupboard itself did start to get a bit full lately. I got to the point where all the mugs were doubled up, and then as I kept gettin’ new ones, I’d reach way in the back and make a triple-stacker, so the top mug basically jammed in under the shelf above it. But I realized I could only get away with that in the back, so then I started openin’ the cupboard with the mugs, but then reachin’ over into the cupboard beside it, to squeeze the mugs in by the plates and that.

Last week while we were waitin’ for supper, Little Bill thought he’d be funny and started throwin’ his plate up in the air and catchin’ it with his other hand. Of course, he dropped it and it shattered all over the place and – long story short – this gave Minnie the perfect excuse to go out and buy a new set of dishes.

And, of course, havin’ a new set of dishes gave her the perfect excuse to clean out my coffee mug collection. She wanted me to keep just one, but I negotiated my way up to three. Of course, when she loaded the new dishes in, them three are buried way in the back.

So now I drink from a plain blue one that got nothin’ written on it and looks just like the other three blue ones that came with the set. I swear to cripes my tea tasted better when I knew we didn’t pay for the cup.

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