THE CHRONICLES OF FURTHERMORE GO OUT FOR COFFEE
The Gospel According to Starbucks, Chapter One...
Since the beginning of recorded history (and even before, Iíll bet), mankind has sought ways to record the significant events of the time. My learned and ancient pet raven brother, Furthermore, has explained this to me in more detail that I can to discuss. For you, Iíll summarize. He does rattle on when youíll let him. Itís the Worshipful Master in him, I think.
Anyway, he says that ancient cave paintings in France, timeless monuments in Egypt, rock paintings in the deserts of the American Southwest, graffiti on subway cars in New York City, all attest to some deep-seated impulse in the subconscious of the human species to keep a record of events, times and places deemed important at that moment in the sprawling epoch of the ages.
Each age of civilization has chosen its own method of keeping that record sacred for future generations. It has, from time unrecorded, taken different shapes - stone tablets in the desert countries of the Mideast, scrolls by the Dead Sea, whispered words of ritual and instruction passed from one man to another in the shadows of the building cathedrals of Europe, gold tablets, printed words on parchment, video tape, and so on down the ages.
Brother Furthermore, however, says that the generation of today is no different. Well, maybe some different, for we have chosen a method of recording that of significance in a manner unique in recorded history.
Thatís right. Coffee cups. Now we all know that coffee is one of the unofficial Working Tools of the Craft (cigars being another). But the record of our history as a civilization?
Ah. You doubt. Okay. Go look in your own kitchen cabinets or on your desk at work or your lodge kitchen. From my desk right now, I can see half a dozen coffee cups, one of which I actually use for its designated purpose: I drink coffee from it each morning. That particular cup proclaims the excellence of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, a favorite spot of mine. The others celebrate the wisdom of Mark Twain, the Most Worshipful Masonic Grand Lodge of Minnesota, Channel 13, the Union Pacific Railroad and the Best Western Coronado Inn, Yuma, Arizona, where the water comes out of the ground hot enough to make instant coffee. Hence the need for a cup.
Now, these are important places and pieces of my life, hence their presence as part of the historic record of my passing this way in life.
Itís worse at home.
Every so often, we have a purge of coffee cups. This usually happens when they are stacked three or four high in the cabinet and topple to the floor when the door is opened. I hate it when that happens because I usually make coffee sometime before my eyes open for the day and my feet are bare because I canít see my socks yet.
Anyway, a quick look in the cabinet discloses a matched set of cups from Hastings College, another matched set celebrating the anniversary of Kansas City (a gift from my thoughtful in-laws, who canít understand why anyone wouldnít live in Kansas City if they could), one with the Masonic square and compasses emblem upon it, another with a Kansas theme and featuring a dog named Toto, a couple with witty sayings about men, another commemorating a performance of the musical Ragtime, one or two from Northern Arizona University (where my children and my money went for several years) and a variety of cups with artistic themes of no real relevance except we like them.
But this record of our history doesnít stop there.
In other rooms of the house reside coffee cups adorned with various comic strips, comic characters, cities, events, slogans and trivia that mark the passing of our lives. There is even a box in the garage with cups remembering the reunions of those Knights of the Sea, the PT Boaters of World War II (my fatherís contribution to the collection, not my own!), the 50th anniversary of my employer and Philmont Scout Ranch. I believe there is even one that admonishes the user to "Support Your Local Cat House." This was issued by the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. And you didnít think they had a sense of humor in Nebraska! Shame on you!
The point is obvious and I believe archaeologists a thousand years from now will exhibit the coffee cups of our generation as a priceless record of ancient history, customs, times and events on the continent of North America in the halcyon days of the United States of America. These artifacts will be prized, like the Dead Sea Scrolls, as the recorded history of an age and honored in conjunction with the gospel according to Starbucks.
And who knows? Some unorthodox researcher may actually suggest these artifacts might have had another purpose in society. See? If you put liquid in them, it stays put! Werenít those ancient peoples clever?!
At least, thatís what Brother Furthermore Raven says. And he may be right. After all, itís hard to print on martini glasses.