man bearded old 3The  beard that I’ve worn for most of my life started out it’s career as a mustache when I was 18 . I was working part time at Redman Van and Storage . I worked with the warehouseman , Roy , inside the furniture warehouse and out on the yard where the trucks came in .  Up at the front of the place facing the street were the offices , full of guys ( one woman ) wearing suits , who parked their GTO’s and red sports cars  out back . They’d walk through the warehouse on their way to and from their alter egos , holding their breaths , I think ,  hoping not to pick up any grit or slime on the way , because those suits were expensive .

After I’d worked there for a time , anonymous notes began appearing , tacked to the walls near the loading dock and against the freight elevator . The author spoke in brief angry phrases about dirty hippies and Communists , and red-blooded Americans . I was so dumb then that Roy had to clue me in . I was no hippie and I was no Communist and I was no dirtier than I had to be working in the warehouse around the furniture ,  so Roy had to tell me what’s what .

” They’re about you ” Roy said . Really ? Dirty hippies ? Red-blooded Americans ? Evidently I was cast as the former , not the latter . Because of the mustache .

” The difference between a tart , a pie , and a quiche are a blur “.

Roy was my buddy , but I think he knew  the person who was posting the angry messages. It had to be one of those suited guys in the front offices , no doubt , too cowardly to confront the issue directly . There was  only Roy and I  working  in the back , and the drivers who came in and drove out  would have told me to my face if there was a problem .

I was too dumb to even realize that there was an issue . Bent out of shape over a mustache ?  Really ? But , it was those Vietnam War Love-it-or-Leave It  days , that stretch of American time before ol’ Willie Nelson grew his stringy locks long and made hair not such a reliable  loyalty oath test any more  . Had the angry fool secretly posting the notes  not been one of Roy’s front office bosses , I figure , Roy would have torn the things down .

” Do the best you can , and don’t take life too serious “.

[decades pass]Dandy man

When I got older and my beard turned white , I trimmed it down to a goatee , as older men tend to do , because I was uncomfortable with the Santa Claus look . Eventually I noticed that so many of us older guys sport those goatees I began to think of it as a requirement for membership in the old man club . I finally shaved the thing off a few weeks ago . Took the mustache off , too .

” Always do whatever’s next “.

I don’t care who the person was who posted the notes way back when . I didn’t care back then , either . Maybe it was old man S. , who had hired me . He never liked me . He had wanted to hire my brother Tom , but Tom had gone off to Officer Training School that year , I think , and I was the pinch-hitter .

It could have been any of those guys in the front offices . They were all snooty . It warms my heart , in a way , to know that whomever it was  had assigned himself something important to worry over and to fret about .  Hopefully , he twisted and turned and lost sleep over the fact that  I worked there three more years and  never shaved off my mustache .

” Things never go the way you expect them to . “

That dude is , no doubt , dead now , because it was a long time ago , and the mustache conniption  is merely another faded memory of mine . I do hope the poor guy got to heaven , though ,  got to meet God , and that God has a long bushy beard and a thick  and  unruly  mustache .god book


Filed under humor

7 responses to “mustache

  1. What’s up, Dan:

    There are the holy tablets I was wondering about! Grand irony and perfect justice it would be if whomever had it out for you back then indeed met his maker with a flowing white beard and mustache. I’ve always dug the ‘stache of Nietzsche. That thing was like a tarantula on his lip, or a nest, maybe a deliberate distraction, something of an inside joke. Whatever it was, it suited him, or he had such genius and character that he made the thing suit him. A man of character could wear a clown nose and it would accumulate surprising symbolic meaning. Also related, in Major League baseball Relief pitchers sport some funky beards and haircuts. Remember Rollie Fingers. To be a good Relief pitcher, it seems one must be a little kooky, a little out there, creating a wild image for reasons of intimidation, for generating mojo, maybe tapping into the Wild West gunslinger mentality. I think something of that’s in there. (Joe Linker might have something to say about this.) Also related, the Stanley Cup Playoffs in hockey are going on presently, and it’s a tradition of the players to grow playoff beards, only shaving them off when their team either has been eliminated or won the Stanley Cup. Some of the younger players barely have much going, just some peach fuzz, whereas others look as if they could take part in a hoedown or dueling banjos. – Speaking of old school NHL hockey, the mullet haircut used to be popular and still is with some players. I leave you with some comic relief, a little something from paranoid-schizo street musician on casio keyboard (now deceased), named Wesley Willis, and his song “Cut the Mullet.” (This guy’s songs are such a mix of outsider’s sincerity and looney fun badass badness laced with profanity they make me laugh.)

  2. You got your revenge by keeping that mustache. It probably made him start every day a little angry – not a good thing for him.

  3. “—Speriamo, the round mustachioed face said pleasantly. Ma, dia retta a me. Ci rifletta.”

    A stach is like a post, always hiding more than it reveals, but revealing more than a razor.

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