Disappearing rights


Now you see 'em, now you don't

I unexpectedly received a marvelous gift. It is a coffee mug imprinted with the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the US Constitution.

It is a handsome mug, bone white with black lettering. At first I didn't intend to use it because it was packaged with a warning from the manufacturer with extensive instructions for its care.

DO NOT machine wash!
DO NOT use a scouring agent!
DO NOT soak for long periods of time!
Gently wash with warm water and SOAP
Mug is NOT dishwasher safe.

I'll wash my fragile martini glasses with gold foil striping by hand. I'll wash my champagne flutes that are too tall to fit in the dishwasher by hand. I'll even exercise reasonable care to protect non-stick cookware from abrasion and harsh chemicals. I will not treat a bloody coffee cup like a piece of precious Royal Doulton china with hand-painted periwinkles! (If that phrase didn't make you chuckle, you haven't watched enough Keeping Up Appearances.)

After I sent a quick email thank-you to the giftor, there was this intriguing further exchange:

Have you discovered it's hidden functionality yet?

I guess not. Haven't actually filled it with coffee.... Will something interesting happen to the print as the coffee level changes?

Just remain vigilant.

Being a sucker for intrigue, I carried the mug to the patio this morning and filled it expectantly with piping hot coffee.

disappearing rights

Just like in real life, my Rights began to disappear. Not all of them, just some. Not surprisingly, Article I (freedom of and from religion) was among the first to go. Article IV (freedom from unreasonable search and seizure) was also a goner, as was Article V (that inconvenient clause about due process). Articles VIII (prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments) and IX (rights held but not enumerated in the Constitution) also faded from view. Interestingly, Article II (right of the people to bear arms) was unscathed.

And here I had thought the most interesting thing about it was the cute little epigram on the bottom of the cup!

bottom of cup

Thanks, Jim!