The origins of the Mug Users Guild are
somewhat uncharted. Though several Mugonian
texts consider Detroit to be the true birthplace
of the organization, others suggest a past
with much deeper roots; one that originated in
early-17th century Europe.

Irrespective of contentions surrounding the inception of MUG, most historians agree that the Guild's source can be tied to a brief, albeit significant movement that spread throughout parts of modern day Germany in the early 1600's. Existing records suggest that around the year 1618, in the village of Mittenwald Bavaria, three men—a Protestant soldier from Donauwörth, a Danish Inn owner and his page, a local boy—began gathering at the Inn to converse over all matters of interest. These meetings began as sporadic encounters of casual affair, but soon became quite recurrent. Of most relevance, in regard to these incessant assemblies, is the Inn owner’s insistence that the three men share a single mug from which to sip their libations. Though the soldier and the page find this practice a bit peculiar, they willingly oblige to their friend’s request.

After several weeks of this repeating practice, (and perhaps after one to many drams of mead) the soldier demands to know why they must always share a single mug. The shopkeeper explains that sharing a single mug unites man with a common purpose, imbuing each with the strength to overcome all life's adversary. While the Innkeeper was most likely spewing philosophical excuses to prevent him from washing more dishes, the men took this pronouncement literally, believing the mug was enchanted, and through its continued use, that they might be blessed with good fortune. And thus, the men continued to share a single beverage receptacle, unknowingly obliging the lazy Innkeepers conservation efforts. This, most historians believe, is the beginning of the beginning of the Mug Users Guild.

What happened in years to follow was a
phenomenon of pandemic proportion. Evasive
rumors spread throughout Bavaria about the
three men's magnificent mug. As these
speculations transpired, curious townspeople,
both near and afar, began to wonder if there were
other magical mugs to be uncovered, and so
The Great Mug Hunt commenced throughout the
entire southern region of Deutschland.


It was a total free-for-all. People became completely consumed with anticipation and drunk with the thought of finding a special mug of their own. Those who discovered significant mugs began banding together in secrecy to utilize their collective power, while others sold them for quick riches.

There was no stopping the people's pursuits, and in a short time, a vast number of undisclosed mug meeting groups began forming. Occasionally, assemblies among small groups would transpire into larger unions across jurisdictions. Eventually the collective group began identifying themselves as the Mass Union of Mugs (or MUM). Bylaws were written and oaths were established. Members were initiated, Officers were elected and Elders were ceremoniously ordained. Additional branches arose, the Union flourished, and the number of mug users throughout the land expanded at an astronomical rate.

As is common throughout history, such rapid expanse of social trends is not always welcomed, and can often lead to authoritative interference and impediments. Not long after the quest for mugs began, officials became increasingly concerned by the vast propagation of MUM and the rumors of their perceived power. In response, authorities did only what they knew to control the situation—banning the use of mugs and arresting anyone believing in the superior attributes of the mug. Officials situated throughout public places across the country were seen shattering mugs and threatening arrests, ultimately forcing the members of MUM to retreat underground, never to speak of mugs or their alleged virtues ever again.

Some people hold that a few proactive members of MUM developed into a super-surreptitious society of sorts, concealing their involvement in public, but maintaining their Union meetings in undisclosed locations throughout the country. However, most historians believe the Mass Union of Mugs completely collapsed around the turn of the 18th century.

MUG in the Modern Day

Flash forward to mid-20th century Detroit. Industrialism is in full swing. Modernism is at its high point. Suzan Bentz of Plymouth, Michigan is studying at the Society of Arts and Crafts on Watson Street, just south of present day midtown. During the summer between her junior and senior year, Suzan traveled to Heidelberg, Germany to visit her Grandmother. During the course of her stay, Suzan spent much of her time visiting local cafes, sampling a variety of delicious cuisine and beverages. In fact, it was in Germany where Suzan's exceptional love for coffee first began.

Though Suzan routinely jumped from one cafe to another, she had a habit or ordering her java the same way every time; bold and black. In a postcard home to her family, it’s recorded that Suzan wrote of the "wonderful cafe culture" she'd discovered in the region and how she would often "sit all day" on the outdoor terraces staring at "row upon row of people and parasols." She writes exceedingly of the "glorious effects" stirred up in every little cup (presumably referring to the caffeine), describing its power and potency as "magical!" Upon summer's end, Suzan was rather mournful about her return to the U.S. However, before Suzan’s departure, she purchased a mug to take back with her; to remind her of the glorious summer spent in Germany and her new love of cafe culture.

The mug, one of simple and modest design, was purchased from a small antique shop near her Grandmother's home. While paying for her goods, Suzan was confronted by an elderly German man who recounted the legend of an ancient society of mug users, known as MUM. He lamented the oppressive elements that forced them to abandon their purpose and retreat from their ideals. Suzan politely humored the man before quickly departing to pack for her return home.

That fall, Suzan decided to make café visits a part of her daily routine. Her favorite spot was Guiseppes, an Italian owned espresso bar and pastry shop on Prentis Street. Suzan spent long hours inside that coffee shop, sometimes reading, sometimes listening to performances by folk groups passing through town. But most often, just sitting, thinking, and watching other customers come and go, all while sipping robust java from her very own German imported mug.

After a few weeks, Suzan began to notice that most of the customers around her were holding Styrofoam cups. No mugs. Just synthetic to-go cups with plastic lids. The increased use of disposable cups seemed ridiculous and wasteful to Suzan, and disparaged the entire coffee shop experience. Loyal to her mug and all it stood for, Suzan continued to bring it with her wherever she went, convincing a few of her close friends to do the same. Soon after, Suzan and her friends decided to start their own organization to lionize the mug and revive its practical perception, while casting aside the wasteful convenience of the degenerate to-go cup. And thus, the Mug Users Guild was established in the fall of 1963.

Today, Mugonianism has transpired in cities across North America. Modern day Guild members embrace the use and craft of the reusable beverage receptacle, shunning the feckless use of disposable cups.


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