Cup in the Scupper

Cup That Haunts Me

Hello, my name is Mark, and I am obsessed with a cup in a street gutter.

To catch up anyone who didn’t see last Friday’s post, the cup with the blue straw has been lodged there since at least as long ago as June 2006. It has survived many hard rains, which led some readers to believe the engineers didn’t do such a good job of predicting water flow at this intersection.

The debris indicates that something’s getting washed down that hole, so there must be some cosmic force holding the cup in place. Its being plastic no doubt increases its chances of surviving (did everybody notice no apostrophes in that sentence? Good. Bonus points, too, if you caught the gerund.).

Incidentally, the Styrofoam cup on the left has been there for at least a week, but without anything more than a sprinkle of precipitation. I don’t think it will last through a downpour.

Crop of the Cup

In this crop, we can see that a banana peel rests against the cup, along with the disgustingly ubiquitous cigarette butts. The latter raises the question… are smokers more prone to littering in general, or just when it comes to smoking? Are they getting rid of the evidence rather than using the car’s ashtray? Smokers who do this (and I know not all of them do), let me give you a tip.

We don’t want your damn used cigarettes any more than you do.

On a loosely related note, our company’s location here chose yesterday as the last day smokers could light up inside the building. The windowed room used for this, in view of the downstairs break room TV, was the smokers’ last vestige of hope for avoiding inclement weather while puffing their bodies into submission. On a day that has a normal high temperature of 60, the mercury never rose above 35. They can still do the slowly killing themselves part, but without benefit of climate control.

But back to the cup. The cropped, enlarged version above also reveals that the lid is askew.

Last comes the irony. I’m leery of using that word to describe it, because I’ve never fully recovered from using it incorrectly once. Plus, there’s that whole Alanis Morissette song that popularized its use by those who had no business wielding such a tool.

I had to know the cup’s origin, so here is a detail of the picture in its full resolution. It’s from a Jack in the Box fast-food joint. Notice the message above the logo.

Cup Detail

Is this cup flying in the face of expectations, or what?

I suspect that my next post on this cup will include video of my climbing out of my car and pulling it free. Somehow this common piece of trash has sentimental value for me. It’s a catch-22. I want to see how long it can last, but that would require losing it forever.

Thanks. See you at our next session.

Now! Follow along (and enjoy the video) with the next post.

18 thoughts on “Cup in the Scupper

  1. “I want to see how long it can last, but that would require losing it forever.”

    Mark, I almost teared up at that last. Getting pretty choked as I type this, frankly. Because, you know, it had another gerund in it.

    Good luck with your whole mental instability thing. Let me know how it works out. I’ll be over here watching the train wreck from a safe distance.

    Speaking of cigaretttes, I heard on the drive in to work this morning that Robin Williams has checked himself into rehab (again), but this time for more mundane addictions. Seems he’s in the habit of three packs of smokes a day, 20 (TWENTY!) cans of Red Bull energy drink and over 30 double espressos. Holy crap, man! Complains of not being able to sleep either for some strange reason.

  2. In defense of the much maligned engineers…I’m pretty sure they properly calculated the water flow. What they failed to concider was the gargantuan size of American drinks. The cup…like so many things in this fine country is just too obese. In my Mini, there are these two tiny drink holders down by the shifter: Dixie cup sized, man. However, on the American version of the car, they bolt this massive cup holder to the dashboard. It sticks out all ugly-like and I was about to remove it…but it hold my iPod nicely so I left it. But the point remains, that cup’s just too big.

    As for cigarette butts, I have no idea why smokers don’t concider that litter. I know people who would walk blocks to get their trash to the nearest trash can, but would think nothing of flicking that disgusting little nugget out their car window. I was sitting in stand-still traffic a few days ago, waiting on the Blanchette Bridge behind a recent car wreck. I saw the red sparks of a lit butt hitting asphalt from the car ahead of me and I almost got out and handed it back to them. I instead decided to simply pass the time on the bridge pretending I got out and handed it back to them. It was slightly less satisfying…but probably safer.

    Spotting gerunds is fun. Hey look! There’s one now!

  3. Simon – Hardy, har har har har. I’m not crazy.

    Wow about Robin Williams. No relation, as far as I know, although when I waited tables a customer told me I reminded him of Robin.

    Probably because I was running around like a chicken without a head trying to remember who the hell needed a refill and repeatedly wondering what level of ineptitude it takes for a Tex-Mex restaurant to run out of refried beans. Have you ever had a Mexican place tell you they were out of refried freakin’ beans?

    Didn’t think so.

  4. MG – Your comment beat mine by a minute.

    American drinks are waaaay too big. I’m glad you pointed out that, umm… point. I think it all started with the Big Gulp, which apparently begged the invention of the Super Big Gulp.

    And, I’ve known smokers who do exactly what you mentioned in regards to littering. It’s funny in a sad sort of way.

  5. Dave – No, I haven’t run out of things to say. I just happened to come into work at 1 a.m. again recently, so I had a chance to get a better photo of the cup.

    But, I admit I’m guilty of watching more TV than usual last night. “Apartment Life Returns” got some typing time, but I had to stop when I started nodding off.

  6. Mark, I’m pretty sure that refried beans are what make up most of the supposed “Dark Matter” that scientists say accounts for over 75% of the mass of the universe. For a Mexican restaurant to run out of them is like going to the beach and somehow finding the ocean is empty for the day. Come back tomorrow; more water then.

    (PS — I didn’t accuse you of being ‘crazy’. Just a little unstable.

    Reminds me of one of my favourite jokes: The judge looks down at Mickey Mouse and arches his eyebrows. “Let me get this straight, Mr. Mouse. You want a divorce from one Minnie Mouse on the grounds that she’s crazy?”

    Mickey looks up and replies, “I never said she was crazy, your honour. I said she was f–kin’ Goofy.”)

  7. Si, one of my favorite jokes too!
    It is a fact that a cigarette butt takes up to 5 years to completely decompose.
    Also, those big-ass drinks are gross. They make me think of people drinking out of a milk carton or a pitcher or something. They scream “gluttony” to me.
    Holy Addictions Batman.

  8. Now you’ve got me rooting for the dang cup!! In response to Simon’s response: As if Robin Williams isn’t already hyper enough!! I can’t imagine what he would be like after all that caffeine and 3 packs of cigarettes a day. Holy crap!!

  9. Simon – No doubt about dark matter.

    That joke, although I think I’ve heard it in the past, floored me. Thanks.

    Linda – Have you see “Supersize Me?” There’s a lot to it besides Spurlock’s all McDonald’s diet. Pretty eye-opening stuff.

    Laminator – The cup says, “You shall not pass!”

    Yeah, Williams was pretty hyper in his cocaine days, but then he mellowed. I guess he got tired of mellow (but probably not Mello Yello).

  10. Re: My Holy Addictions Batman comment which made no sense, I’ll clarify… It was a play on “Robin” as in Holy crap, Robin Williams, you got some serious problems…

  11. I guess I just don’t understand folks with super addictive personalities. I mean…just the thought of drinking that much Red Bull makes me sick to my stomach. And I like Red Bull. I love coffee…but after a few cups it just doesn’t taste that great to me anymore. I seem to have moderation hard-wired into my brain. Good for my health…but sometimes Robin Williams does seem to be having a lot of fun.

  12. Hey, that cup was there when I visited. Just kidding. I mean, yes, it was probably there, but I didn’t see. Not because I wasn’t looking. Maybe I did see, but didn’t realize the signifigance of a cup in the scupper. You call that a scupper? If it was there when I was there, then it’s quite a the sturdy cup. Probably not biodegradeable as advertised. Shelf-life of 1,000 years, huh? Perhaps it your moral obligation, no, DUTY, to get that filth, trash, litter, from your streets. No, OUR streets.

    No more JOLT COLA for me. My interior christian is sore, by the way. BTW, remember how Mark W. would combine two words to create a non-existent word? Accidentally, of course. My all time favorite is when he mixed Budapest and Bucharest together to form the always wonderful coutry of Budacrest. HAAA, I nearly wet my pants when I “hear” him say that.

  13. Linda – I just figured you were talking about Americans’ addiction to large drinks.

    Moksha – Me neither (he says as he frets about whether he’s read all the blogs he should and will have his post and his story conclusion ready in time for Monday and/or Tuesday)

    Barrett – That cup’s been there since June 2006, at least (that’s when I finally decided to take note of it and see how long it would stay there)

    Um, that was Mark M. I’m Mark W. And, yes, Budacrest is not doubt a country filled with Wal-Mart Disneyworlds. I just hope nobody falls off a clift.

  14. We had an ice cream stand near my high school that sold these enormous sized drinks, bigger than a super big gulp. After my first two-a-day, I stopped and bought a lemon phosphate in one of those cups and chugged it. I made it about five steps and then hurled it all back up like the pie scene in Stand By Me. I have never bought a drink that size again.

    The only thing even more ironic to me, in a kind of cosmic sense, would be a video of you removing the cup, noticing it has liquid in it, and then downing its contents.

  15. I’m still chuckling at my reference to “Castaway” and how I blew it by comparing the cup to “Spaulding,” rather than “Wilson” on the first installment of Drain Cup.

    I loved the Goofy joke. I’d heard it years ago, but it still made me laugh.

    I’m confounded by the cup’s ability to defy the elements. Maybe I’m demented as well, but I hope you keep us posted on its situation from time to time.

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