Enjoying a cool beverage is one of life’s rewards for a job well done, a job about to be done, or simply for pressing the small red “On” button on a remote control, signifying that no job is about to be done any time soon.  When consumed from a pewter mug, the experience lends an air of sophistication and pride; you’re now living The Good Life, King of all those who schlep through life holding glass or plastic. 

I discovered a hidden desire to be king three years ago during a trip with wife to Amsterdam. A day before our return home we came across a set of two pewter wine chalices glinting through a shop window in a side straat. Each mug sported four panels engraved with scenes depicting the winemaking process, and a $65 price tag. Suffering from brain shrinkage blamed equally on jet lag and our recent consumption of street-bought rolls crammed with extra salty herring and onions, we hardly reflected on the expense. The next day I was squeezing the brown paper-wrapped souvenirs into my suitcase.

I’ve since had a few chances to reflect on the transaction. Sure, one hundred thirty-five dollars may have been traded more wisely. Still, compared to  many tourists’ other purchases of goods and services in Amsterdam, ours wasn’t altogether criminal. Today, whether it’s Chianti, Hoegaarden, or eggnog (most definitely not under my watch), our pricey metalware holds its contents as proudly as can be expected of an inanimate object incapable of emotion.