The tools you use every day become an extension of yourself. When your loved ones pass away, it’s always the sight of those things that they used most that remind you just what their absence means.

And although it makes me a stark materialist, I love the things that fill my life. I see it as a healthy respect for my tools: I mourn a pair of shoes when they wear too thin or an old car when it’s euthanized to the used car lot, and it absolutely crushes me when my oafish ass breaks something I love.

Before moving to Austin for the summer, I shattered my mug. That sounds like such a little thing—and it is. But it’s a whole life adjustment. It’s the loss of the first thing I touch every day. The bringer of coffee and cereal, the measure of my day.

Mr. BigMug was a one-pint bowl with a handle and, for nine years, it was the only dish I liked to eat from. Stir fry, ice cream, ramen noodles—everything fit. And one dish used meant fewer to wash.

So, mugless, I’ve been using whatever I can find. But most mugs are too small, most steins’ mouths are too tight. And then I found this.

A two-and-a-half pound, stoneware, Gilded Age mug with a gentlemenly monkey getting fresh with the barmaid.

I know that the paint will wear thin and the design will wash away, but I’m happy to have something new to love.

Here’s to you, cheeky monkey.

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