I was prompted to record this information because the Columbia College Instagram story about the line had an awful angle. Like you couldn’t see anything. Immortalize this struggle.

The first of the students began gathering at a ripe 4 pm. The exact location of mug distribution was unknown. This collection of early risers congregated at the sundial and stirred amongst themselves. Whispers whirled between the groups as they shared feelings of excitement, concern, and joy. Due to a lack of confirmed information regarding the mug handout, there was apprehension over whether their good planning would be rewarded with a gorgeous cup.

However, at around 4:20 pm (nice!), mass migratory patterns occurred. The sundial was abandoned as a potential setting to inaugurate mug ownership. Like lemmings in the flock, these students quickly made their way to the budding lines in front of Butler. As students walked through the patio to their place in the queue, their hearts were stoked by amatory flames and temptation. The mugs were on the tables. Plain as day. Each one stuffed with a hidden parcel folded neatly within the cup. Anticipation brewed faster than the future drinks that will be housed in the mugs. 

The final prize was within sight for many. It is estimated that the first 500 students got in line prior to the official start time of 4:30 pm. Despite this, students continued lining up well until the last minutes before the mugs were passed out, and lives were changed forever. Guided by a foundational desire for free items—the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, to get psychological—students joined the procession unconsciously. The line spanned the entirety of the south field and even pushed into Low plaza.

There was a unique observation in the biogeographic derived anthropological developments of the mug distribution lines. As there were two tables, there were two lines assumed to have 250 mugs. The settings of the two lines across campus caused unique social trends to develop in the Wallach/Hartley/John Jay line side and the Lerner/Furnald line. The former was insulated by the traffic flow of Freshman students dorming nearby and students exiting or arriving at John Jay’s dining halls. The latter, however, received much more traffic due to the business of the student union and the major pathway.

Mug-waiters were routinely asked by passersby “what the hell is this line for? It can’t be for the mugs, right?” It was obviously for the mugs. Humanity is driven by a desire for exclusivity. There is some innate satisfaction in esoteric stratification. In a way, the lines were a corrupted will to power. 

Questions were asked in a cycle of every few minutes as another person caught sight of the growing collection of students. Personally, I was asked a lot so I felt complimented by any inviting energy I might give off :-). Later, a group of adolescents came by and exhibited highly economic behavior despite their young age. They advertised vending machine snacks they were selling: five jolly rancher pieces for a dollar. 

Upon seeing the horde of hungry-for-mug students, some mug-hopefuls were defeated and abandoned their goal. It was depressing watching the extinguishment of mug dreams. Observing this lowered line morale because it called into question the feasibility of the mug-partnership. Will we even get a mug? Were we early enough? And yet, when other students caught sight of the line they sped to the back of the line. Despite the fact that this was in vain, it was inspiring. There was still hope. 

Besides human accompaniment, canines were a common source of cuteness and motivation. It countered feelings of dwindling spirits. On the Lerner/Furnald line, a man threw a frisbee to a dog on the Butler lawn. It was really nice. There were also just other really adorable dogs that seemed so excited to see the faces of everyone.

As the clock neared 5:00 pm, strife began to grow. The mug line entered a state of nature. It alighted primal urges within us. It was like the Id came to the surface. Immorally, students cut the line. Thomas Hobbes was certainly punching the air at that moment and likewise, Locke was rolling in his grave. If the wait was any longer, I think a riot could have been incited.

At 4:58 pm, the lines suddenly launched into motion. Unification commenced. Within five minutes the tables were depleted of their supply. 500 students got their mugs. While there were still major masses left without a mug, they can be consoled by the fact we got sugar-free hot chocolate (what even?).

You know, there’s this myth about love I once heard. Humans were originally created with a single body containing two arms, two legs, a handle, a bowl, and a head. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves. And yesterday, for an eager 500 students, they were so lucky as to reconnect and feel whole again, if only for a moment.  

Mug Line via A Talented Bwog Photographer