65: Glass Dismissed

65: Glass Dismissed

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

Glass Dismissed

No man acquires property without acquiring with it a little arithmetic also.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Peek inside the kitchen cabinets in our home and you’ll come face to face with a disturbing secret my wife and I have kept for decades: a massive stash of drinking glasses that has spiraled out of control and continues to expand against all rhyme or reason.

I recently sat down and did the math: 124 glasses divided by two people equals sixty-two glasses per person. And that doesn’t even factor in the countless glasses squirreled away in china cabinets, the living room wall bar, and boxes under beds, in closets and stacked out in the garage.

Our “glasses of mass consumption” surplus started innocently enough. When my wife and I first joined forces, I possessed a certain number of assorted drinking glasses (eight) and Sherry had a certain, somewhat higher number (fifty-eight).

As time went on, my glasses — which mostly consisted of sixteen-ounce plastic tumblers commemorating outdoor events at which I consumed a cold beer — were weeded out to make room for more respectable, stylish glasses that came in sets, had elegant stems, and illuminated alluringly when the light hit them.

Now, as best as I can figure it, here’s where things started to get out of hand. During occasions when our “good glasses” played a prominent role in a social gathering at the house we became quietly and irrevocably identified by well-intentioned friends and family as “appreciators of nice glasses.”

This led to our receiving sets of glasses as gifts on a regular basis. Red wine glasses. White wine glasses. Red and white wine glasses. Crystal dinner glasses. Smoked dinner glasses. Everyday dinner glasses. Indoor/outdoor glasses. Fancy coffee drink glasses. Holiday-themed coffee mugs. Coffee mugs from the White Castle Hamburger collection that, in spite of their blatant promotional purpose, are sturdy, first-rate mugs worth reaching around the more “respectable” mugs in the cabinet to get to.

On any given day, in fact, my choice of glasses follows a conspicuously narrow and predictable pattern.

Morning: I’ll reach for a White Castle coffee mug or a mug that says “The Grand Village: Branson, Missouri.” (I’ve never been to Branson, Missouri, but the mug evokes an odd sentimentality in me fueled by visions of an ancient Andy Williams singing the Hawaiian Wedding Song while I eat roasted chicken and mashed potatoes at a dinner theater with busloads of tourists.)

Noon: I’ll reach for a twelve-ounce plastic tumbler that says “Promenade in the Park: The Family, Food and Fun Festival” or a sixteen-ounce plastic tumbler that says “It’s 5 o’clock at the Quarter Deck Lounge.”

Night: I’ll reach for a tinted German wine glass with a green spiral stem or a goblet-style wine glass with grapes hand-painted on it by our friend Jane while she skillfully drank wine from another glass.

According to my meticulous calculations, that leaves about fifty-six glasses allotted for my daily use that are severely underemployed and deserve to hear the words “glass dismissed” any day now. Even if I quadruple my daily fluid intake, I’m reasonably confident that I could still get by with fewer than ten glasses, even if it meant resorting to more or less unlimited refills of the multipurpose “Promenade in the Park: The Family, Food and Fun Festival” plastic tumbler.

One consolation in all this is that during candid conversations with an intensely private married couple who prefer to remain nameless (Uncle Al and Aunt Jean), I’ve discovered that others have a similar baffling surplus. While the consensus is that it’s nice to have extra glasses around for when you have company, Sherry and I don’t throw the kind of get-togethers where 124 glasses are needed on standby to be called into active service.

Actually, in our marriage, Sherry and I don’t throw the kind of get-togethers where twenty-four glasses would be needed. That being said, you never know when the national tour bus of a philharmonic orchestra might break down in front of your home and serving refreshments in paper cups would reflect poorly on your reputation for exceptional class and cultural sophistication.

In the meantime, please excuse me while I refill my “It’s 5 o’clock at the Quarter Deck Lounge” plastic tumbler. It’s not the most attractive glass in the house, but it holds a hearty sixteen ounces and when I accidently knock it over lunging for the last chicken wing, I can pick it right up, wipe it right off, and start all over again.


~Alan Williamson

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