Who could say no to these pieces of Nineties pop culture history? Set of 5 32oz cups contains original designs of George Michael, MC Hammer, Diana Ross, Scorpions, and Bell Biv Devoe (get to Taco Bell, before they go!—there, now the song’s in your head too.). Stored in a pet- and smoke-free climate-controlled environment. (Specifically: unit #405 at Mid-Mo Self Storage, out on Mennonite Parkway. Family owned and operated. Ask for Sheila, who was great about listening to Seller’s tale of woe and letting Seller into mother’s unit even though he wasn’t set up for access.). Only available as a full set. (Why would you want to break up the band?). Pre-owned but still in good condition in the aggregate. Lightly/lovingly/longingly used in most cases.
Cups are a source of considerable nostalgia for Seller. Mere sight of cups transports Seller right back to 1991, straight into the humid dog days of central Missouri summer, when he was living with mother and eating fast food for every meal in a cramped 1BR/1BA studio apartment after Seller’s father booted them out of the house so that he could shack up with his teaching assistant. (Seller comes from an academic family. Seller’s father was taught English at the local university, and Seller’s mother was constantly referring to herself as a “professional student”.). All cups purchased at College Avenue location (Store #561). (Fun fact: Store #561 was one of the first Taco Bell franchises in the American Midwest! Opened 1978, still operating today. Seller drove by #561 just yesterday on his way to Mid-Mo to collect mother’s boxed-up belongings. As Seller passed this venerable establishment, he thought about how mother once told him that back in the late seventies, Mexican food was so exotic that locals did not know how to pronounce “taco”–the word had to be spelled out phonetically on the original signage. TAH-KO. Seller bets that old sign would fetch a pretty penny on this site nowadays.).
In the interest of transparency (and maintaining his high customer satisfaction rating, which is about all he has going for him right now), Seller will now provide a detailed catalog of each cup’s imperfections, flaws, and defects.
George Michael: near-perfect condition. Text on cup references Michael’s hit 1990 single “Praying for Time” (which is coincidentally how Seller has spent the last few months after he quit his job and moved back home to serve as mother’s personal driver, secretary, chef, masseur, thermostat adjuster, hand-holder, shoulder to cry on, and draft animal.). No blemishes, scratches, or discoloration to be found. George Michael’s jagged signature may look like scuff marks to the untrained eye (Seller invites prospective buyers to study the accompanying photo, then perform a simple Google search for “george michael signature” if further authentication is desired.). (Seller just remembered the book of famous people’s autographs his mother owned. Seller noted the presence of this book on her nightstand his first day back home but quickly discovered that she was using the book less as a reference than as a prop. “These are real signatures, not copies,” Seller’s mother would explain to the endless parade of friends and acquaintances who stopped by after her physicians had handed down their bleak diagnosis. “Yep,” Seller’s mother would say to her incredulous well-wishers, “all I had to do was walk up to every single one of these celebrities and ask them to sign their name in perfect alphabetical order.”).
(Seller’s mother was always joking like that. Trying to keep the mood light. Even at the end.).
MC Hammer: good condition. Slightly distressed mouth is the sole visible flaw. (See accompanying photo.). Opening is oblong instead of a perfect circle, which is only noticeable if looking down on cup from above. (Given his present mental state, Seller would no doubt also appear slightly distressed if looked down upon from above.). Seller not sure how warping occurred. Might’ve melted in the dishwasher. Or more likely might’ve been gripped too hard–Seller’s mother’s hand muscles were noticeably tight and tensed in those anxious months post-separation when she had to abruptly cut short her “professional student” career and take whatever jobs she could–serving drinks, walking dogs, babysitting toddlers, corralling shopping carts–to keep a roof over Seller’s head. But no matter how damage was caused, this cup will still get the job done. You might be misshapen but we love you anyway, McHammer. (Fun fact: Seller’s Mother once accidentally referred to the musician depicted on cup as “McHammer” and it immediately became an inside joke between them. But what happens to an “inside joke” when only one person is laughing?).
Diana Ross: fair condition. Noticeable fading on Basquiat-esque slashes of color on the outside of cup. (Seller is not an art critic but he did find himself thumbing through his mother’s copy of “Art for Dummies” late one night at #405. Seller had just torn open a box marked “F.D.” only to be stunned by the breadth and depth of his mother’s For Dummies library. World War II for Dummies. Personal Finance for Dummies. Spirituality for Dummies. Raising Good Kids for Dummies. And on and on and on. (Note: see separate listing on Seller’s profile for an extensive list of “For Dummies” titles.). Seller wishes he’d known about this stockpile earlier so he could’ve asked his mother if she was planning to write For Dummies Books For Dummies. But Seller suspects this joke probably would not have landed quite the way he wanted. He’d’ve probably earned a light chuckle at most—the number one cause of debilitating coughing fits: belly laughs–followed up with some self-deprecating statement like, “Oh, I’m too dumb to write that”. And then maybe Seller could have told her, “Nonsense, mom. You know who’s really too dumb to write something down? Me. Because in a couple of days you’re gonna wake up from a morphine nap in a clear-eyed panic and you’re gonna share your last lucid thoughts with me. And I’m going to wish I had a pad and pen because I’m gonna forget everything you’ll say the instant it comes out of your mouth. All I’ll be able to remember about what you told me is that it was beautiful.”).
Scorpions: fair condition. Extensive staining on the inside of cup is possibly attributable to multipurpose use beyond beverage-holding. Most notably, cup served as a flowerpot for a small ivy plant that Seller’s mother retrieved from Seller’s father’s love shack. (“That’s my plant,” she snarled at Seller’s father while ripping stems and roots out of a hanging pot in her old kitchen. Seller was never clear on the exact degree of sentimental value the plant held for mother. Seller’s theory: the plant offered Seller’s mother a momentary means of accomplishing her immediate objective, which was to make a big scene.). Back at the apartment, Seller’s mother filled Scorpions cup with soil and set the re-potted plant on the windowsill of their tiny kitchen, where it eventually succumbed to severe malnourishment brought on by lack of sun/water less than one month later. (“That’s what I do,” Seller’s mother announced, not joking, definitely crying, upon discovery of the dead plant. “Everything I touch, everything I care about, I end up killing.” Seller often wonders whether mother remembered this moment as acutely as he did. Did she ever fret about all the tiny bitter heirlooms he boxed up and carried with him? Did she ever dream about drawing up a last will and testament for her child’s psychic inheritance, bequeathing only the good?).
Bell Biv Devoe: poor condition. Rim is frayed, fuzzy, and dotted with teeth marks. Invisible hairline crack renders cup hopelessly leak-prone if filled past a certain point. Original Rock Art for Charity design has grown so comprehensively pale that cup is now almost pure white. Seller wonders, what’s the point of holding on to junk like this, anyway? What, exactly, is the appeal of otherwise worthless debris? Is it because in the end we know we can’t rely on memory alone? Or do our accumulated odds and ends provide our only means of reliving some distant experience, e.g. the particular way a large Pepsi tastes on a hot summer day, when you’re riding in the front seat of the family Volvo with the windows down? And if you could successfully re-enter this fleeting moment, would you wring it dry with analysis, counting every ice cube your colorful cup contains, classifying each one by size, shape, and melting point? Or would you simply savor the slow progress of the slippery beads of condensation as they slide down the plastic exterior and into your soft, waiting palm?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions–even the open-ended ones–then these cups will give you what you’ve been craving: a feeling you can close your fist around. Fill them with whatever you want. Drinks, dreams, disappointments–it doesn’t matter. But don’t delay. Limited time only. Hurry before they go.