Even when I was too young to even want any kind of alcohol in my system, I have loved shot glasses. When I was a kid, I was mesmerized by my parents’ collection of the glasses in the dining room. The glasses were designed with colorful images, witty slogans and invitations to visit far away places, and I was often transfixed simply by looking at them. There was something about their small size combined with the fact that they were rarely used that made them just mysterious enough to make me want to collect them myself when I got older. Now that I am older and I have a pretty impressive collection of the glasses myself, my parents and I are able to connect with each other through our mutual love of shot glasses.
By the time I was old enough to start my collection, I was a poor college student. Through some connections I made at the college with friends, I was able to go on a trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina for Spring Break. I was not yet at legal drinking age, and the weather was surprisingly cold and blustery. However, I will always remember the trip with fondness because it resulted in my first ever purchase of a shot glass. I was milling about in one of the island’s shopping centers while my friends were busy trying to get into a bar, when I noticed a store that sold novelty items and other merchandise geared toward tourists and people like me. I did not have much money to spend, but I found two perfect Hilton Head shot glasses that I absolutely had to bring back with me. I paid my four dollars, the clerk wrapped them carefully in paper and I was well on my way to building a collection.
These days, I own at least one shot glass for every place I have visited. I even have several shot glasses from my hometown and the city in which I live today. My favorites are the New York glasses I purchased when I visited the city shortly before September 11, 2001, and, of course, the Hilton Head glasses I obtained when I was a broke and struggling college student. These glasses may not be the most beautiful pieces of glassware, but they hold some special stories and memories for me. My parents still collect shot glasses on their travels, and I am happy to admit that they still have a more impressive collection than mine. However, I would not trade my beloved shot glasses for anything.