Neither a sleazy, pencil-thin effort like those that caught on in the 1950s and again in contemporary times among a slew of Brooklyn hipsters, nor one of the bushy horseshoe numbers befitting Harley Davidson owners, Keith’s mustache at once defines its breed while resisting more specific characterization. Wider than the toothbrush of Charlie Chaplin and cleaner than Wilford Brimley’s walrus-style ‘stache, it’s not a Rollie Fingers or a Salvador Dali or even a Fu Manchu; it’s the mustache your father kept for a couple of years during your childhood. It’s a mustache that announces, without pretense or irony:
I am man.
Don’t mistake this for false modesty because it’s actually the exact opposite: I’m rarely satisfied with the things I write. Sometimes I think they’re OK and sometimes I look back and enjoy them more than I did when I published them, but they seldom live up to the lofty goals I set for myself when I sit down to write them. But the post I wrote about Keith Hernandez’s mustache in 2007 was one I was pretty happy with upon its completion. I think I’ve grown as a writer since then and I’m not sure it entirely withstands the test of time, but it is for me a fun way to look back on the way I wanted to be writing five years ago, typos notwithstanding.
Sorry, sausage factory. I link it now not for that, but on this strangest of days as a loving tribute to a suddenly fleeting institution.