A Manly Man’s Sippy Cup

Sippy Cups

Up until a couple weeks ago, it’s been a bit chilly this winter, as the locals like to say here in Vermont. This means the temperatures drop into the mid-teens-below-zero at night and rise to a balmy five degrees during the day. Factor in 15- to 20-mile-an-hour winds, and that means it’s cold. Damned cold. Miserably, bone-grindingly, I-hope-the-furnace-doesn’t-crap-out-and-that-the-truck-will-start cold.

None of this would matter much to me if I weren’t a ski instructor. But this curious career choice means I’m outside, day after day, from around 8:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon. Regardless of the weather. “A little nippy,” I’ll mutter to the shivering hulk seated next to me as we ride the chairlift, swaying in the gale and lurching along to the top of the mountain for yet another attempt at this thing called skiing. “Today?” I’ll think to myself. “You have to learn how to ski TODAY?”

I’m generally a pretty reasonable guy. And by and large I like and respect my students. But after a few days of this godawful weather, I tend to get a little nutty.

So at the end of my shift, walking stiff-legged and shivering back to the locker room to change out of my ski boots, all I want in the whole world is some bourbon and a very long, very hot shower. I climb into my truck and make my way home, pulling into the driveway just as the defroster is starting to make a little headway. There I find my devoted golden retriever glaring at me through the plate glass window in the back door. Aw, shit, I mutter out loud. And so I let the dog out. As she noses about, taking her sweet time, I stand there, hands jammed into my pockets, stamping my feet and wondering if she might somehow be in on some conspiracy to keep me out in the cold for as long as inhumanely possible. I also review my plan: 1. Bourbon. 2. Shower.

I’ve long viewed these two activities as largely separate. First I rustle around the kitchen for a teacup, pour my bourbon, and take a sip. Then I leave it on the counter while I took my shower. It simply never occurred to me that you could combine these things. Call it a lack of imagination on my part.

Then the other day, as I was reaching for my teacup from its usual berth on the bottom shelf of the cupboard, I saw it. Sitting on the edge of the upper right shelf, close enough to bite me. It’d been left for me either by the gods, or, more likely, some forgetful house guests from last summer.

Just minutes later, there I was, standing in the shower, steaming hot water cascading over my head and shoulders, holding a sippy cup filled with bourbon. My cup has a little cartoon bear on the side. I’ve been thinking about getting something a bit more Jetson-y. But for now, this will do.

LC Editor Note: We have a sneaking suspicion that you, too, have experienced a sippy-cup moment, concocting something unconventional out of necessity. We want to hear about it. ‘Fess up.–LC Editors.



  1. After one of my friends knocked over his FULL wine glass on two separate dinner parties, we threatened him with a sippy cup. He did not take this joke very well, though.

  2. Thank you Rick! Peer-aged hubby #3.5 and I are happily married bourbon drinkers and avid flyfisherfolks who always wait until we are off of the river to “end the day well” – those days are over – I see sippy cups with fish on them in our near future!

    1. Available at Toys R US. You will find the variety astonishing…I’ve been sending them out as gifts…

  3. When I was a kid, we lived in a neighborhood that was still under developement as new homes were being built in the lots behind our street. One day, my little brother, not much smaller than me, came flying over the hill from playing with the neighborhood boys at the construction site behind our house; blood running down his leg from his knee. He squint-glared at me as I looked up, put his index finger to his lips then shook his fist at me…sign language that said, “Shut-up, Susie, or I’m gonna get you if you tell.” While he was inside patching himself up, my Mom came out to take some laundry off the clothes line. A few minutes later, my brother came swaggering out of the back door ready to head back to the “mines”. My Mom looked up and commanded him to halt and explain why he had a bandage around his knee. Upon examination, she broke out laughing. He had wrapped several layers of her feminine hygene pads around his wound and taped them on with bandaids. Needless to say, his work day was over and we were off to the doctor’s for some stitching!

      1. I guess a boy’s got to do what…a woman’s got to do? Not quite manly, maybe, but it seemed like a good idea at the time! And yes, it’s a family favorite story whenever we get to talking about “the olden days” as my kids like to say.

  4. During the roaring 80’s (1980s) I vacationed in Jamaica with older husband #2 at the home of his older/wealthier/white collar criminal friends. Scrambling up the steps from the ocean to the house after diving for urchins, I looked up and waved to older hubby and his friends in their Nicole Milleresque shirts staring at me (often referred to as Lu’s girl from Alabama) in an old t-shirt lugging a bag of urchins. They were particularly snarky because they had a pact to not smoke on this trip, a pact that didn’t involve me and my Marlboros. As I showed off my catch, older hubby said, “Well, at least she can’t smoke while she’s doing that.” Smiling I thought of the duct tape I’d seen near the fish house. I debuted my Southern Alabama Smoking Snorkle that afternoon at the beach. The duct tape held my cigarette perfectly as I enjoyed my first under the sea cigarette.

    1. Genius. Wrong, of couse, but still…genius. Also really liked the way you “painted” the whole scene for us, Robin. Thanks.

  5. Rick Casner is clearly a man after my own heart.

    On the other end of the temperature spectrum, I clearly remember a hot Southern California summer afternoon playing “Marco Polo” in a friend’s pool. Wearing a vintage 1920’s wool tank bathing suit, I waded through cool water with a martini in my left hand, muttering the occasional “Polo” between puffs of the cigarette I held in my right, trying to look and act as jaded as possible. Learning that I could drink while submerged in water was one of the happiest moments of my life.

    And now I am going to run out into the rain to buy some bourbon. Sans umbrella.

    1. Could we just go back to the “Wearing a vintage 1920’s wool tank bathing suit…with a martini in my left hand…” for a sec? I’m a little stuck on that image and am puzzled by the wool “choice.” Thanks.

      Makers Mark by the way. Umbrella or not.

      Also, thanks for the note, Michael. Like your work.

      1. Thanks very much, Rick. I rather like your work as well.

        About that bathing suit: Black singlet with matching trunks and a white grosgrain belt. Wool was the fabric for bathing suits in the 20’s, which makes me think there were an incredible number of drowning deaths back then– it sucks up so much water as to make one sink like a stone, which brings Virginia Woolf to mind. I’ll bet you anything it was a wool cardigan she was wearing that day she filled her pockets with stones and waded into the river.

        And there was no choice for me at that age. In college, I had many moments of looking as if I’d shown up to work as an extra in the crowd scenes of Brideshead Revisited. It was soggy, itchy wool or nothing at all, but that would mean I’d be showing up for the bathing scene from Room with A View.

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