The packing slip said, “I saw this and had to get it for you! Love, Karen.”

Karen! Karen? In my mind I ran through the three Karens I knew, all of whom would absolutely send me something like this. But which one was it? Maybe it was the client whose book we were working on, since we were currently in the throes of comma placement. But I’m not quite sure this was her sense of humor. Maybe it was Karen from church? She might think of me, but she would give it to me in person. That leaves one Karen left.

The one with the online business who sees all sorts of items to buy on the internet. The one who would totally appreciate this kind of (albeit, nerdy) editor humor. The one who would definitely ship this to me as a fun surprise. The one who has known me since the 4s and 5s Sunday school class. The Karen I grew up with and knows me well.

Reconnecting with childhood or high school friends as an adult is tricky business. It’s way harder than I thought it would be. We’ve all grown and changed and matured and, weirdly, also stayed the same. Which is what makes it hard: How do I tell them I’m still me, but different?

But here’s the good news. Funny mugs help.

Oh, and Karen was right: Commas do save lives.

So do friends. Go make them. Again. You never know—you might get a fun surprise in the mail sometime. Or even better, a friend for a lifetime.

Monday Mugs is where I tell the stories behind my coffee mugs. Each one holds a story (and coffee, of course) of somewhere I’ve been or something I’ve seen. Because if even a coffee mug has a story, so do you. The photos are my actual mugs, not lookalikes found online. So grab one of your own mugs (fill it with coffee first) and hear the stories of mine. And don’t forget the cream and sugar.