I went to Big Lots today, not because I needed anything but because it was a lovely afternoon and I wanted to get out of the house and go for a drive. So across the reservoir I drove, and to Big Lots I went.
I found myself looking at coffee pots.
I had a very nice Mr. Coffee coffee pot. I’d bought it in North Carolina, and it served me well for years until, maybe about two years ago, my grandmother attempted to disassemble it for reasons that pass beyond understanding and I woke in the morning to a mess of parts on the kitchen counter. I put it back together as best I could, but it wasn’t the same, and eventually I had to get rid of it.
I miss that coffee pot. Sometimes, when I go out to a department store, I’ll study the coffee pots. Mr. Coffee doesn’t make that exact coffee pot any more, but they make some that are close, and I’ve been tempted from time to time. It’s not something that I need, just something I want. And so I look at coffee pots.
Looking at coffee pots meant that I was near the aisle of coffee mugs. Though I didn’t need another coffee mug, I decided to take a look and see what they had.
And what they had blew my mind.
They had Peanuts coffee mugs.
But not just any Peanuts coffee mugs.
They had Peanuts coffee mugs with Rerun on them!
I love Rerun.
Wait, I should qualify that.
In the past year, Fantagraphics has reached the early 1980s in their reprint volumes of The Complete Peanuts. At that time, Rerun’s presence in the strip amounted to an occasional gag where Rerun, then about three years-old, rode on the back of his mother’s bicycle. In the Peanuts animated specials of the 1980s and The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, Rerun filled the same kind of role. He’s on the back of the bicycle, he comments on his mother’s bad driving, and then something ends up in his face. I’m not sure why Schulz introduced the character in 1973, but a decade later he still hadn’t figured out what the point of Rerun was.
A decade later, in the mid-90s, Rerun reached kindergarten. And suddenly he had a role.
Rerun was completely mental.
No, that’s not quite right. Rerun’s sense of the world was completely skewed. He was one of the few characters who could really call Lucy on her bullshit; Linus was afraid of his older sister, but Rerun simply didn’t care. Rerun was a romantic and impractical dreamer and his head was always in the clouds. All he really wanted was a dog he could call his own, and his relationship with Snoopy was positively bonkers. Compared to everyone else in the strip, like the little girl in his class, Rerun was out of his head.
What’s interesting to me is the way that Rerun altered the relationships among the characters. To Rerun, Charlie Brown is the responsible, adult-like character in the Peanuts gang, and thus some of the edge of the character’s loser-ness is softened and lost.
Suffice it to say, I loved mid- to late-90s Rerun.
So when I saw two coffee mugs with Rerun on them, I just had to buy them. One had Rerun playing basketball (which never turned out well). The other had Rerun and Snoopy playing poker.
There were four other similar mugs — Charlie Brown pitching a baseball, Lucy pulling the football away, Snoopy golfing, and Snoopy fishing — and since they were three dollars each I bought all six.
Coffee mugs are migratory. It doesn’t hurt to find replacements for the flock.