Help fight cancer, grow a mustache

By Rory McCarty

As we enter into October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is already underway, with November quickly bringing on Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month. Friends can attest that I have both an irrational love of national awareness months and somewhat more logical hatred of cancer. Seriously, if cancer said “Hey” to me at a bar or something, I wouldn’t even look up.

Pfft. Cancer. What a dickweed.

I understand that all the kids these days are promoting cancer awareness by not shaving. Organizations like “Mustaches vs. Cancer” are popularizing this idea. Coincidentally, “No Shave November” and “Novembeard” have been created to bring people to not shave for an entire month.

I decided, why not combine the two? Why not use facial hair to fight every kind of cancer? Why pick and choose which cancer I hate the most?

This is great, because it gives lots of men an excuse to grow facial hair when they would otherwise be ostracized.

“Hey Louis! What happened to your face? You look like Alan Moore/Grizzly Adams on casual Friday/Jim Morrison’s during his final days.”

“Oh this beard, you mean? Oh, I’m just growing that to help kids with cancer. Apparently you hate terminally-ill children?

“What? How does…”

“You feel like an ass now.”

I wanted to jump on this bandwagon as soon as it rolled past, but I have a problem. In past years, my attempts at growing facial hair have been disastrous. I’ve tried for weeks to grow a passable goatee, only to end up with the same amount of peach fuzz as Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.

Nevertheless, I’ve decided to grow a mustache to raise cancer awareness. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to be fun, but I’ll bet my considerable collection of novelty foam fingers that given enough time, I can grow a truly inspiring soup strainer. The future of cancer research depends on it.

May we present “Rory McCarty Mustache Chronicles.”

Day 1

A mustache is a gamble, no doubt about it. Mustaches haven’t been in style since the ’70s, but it’s the only place on my face where I can assure a reasonable coverage of facial hair.

When mustaches go right, they can be inspiring, like Magnum P.I. When they go wrong, your only recourse is to cover your face with a Phantom of the Opera-esqe half mask and find a bell tower or crawlspace to live in.

But would my mustache turn out like a Tom Selleck-ian masterpiece, or would I look more like a pedophile? There was too much at stake. I had to seek out someone to train me.

I turned to Kyle Bauer, Oakland Post intern and grower of many mustaches. My new sensei explained the basics of upper lip coiffure.

To start, you have to visualize your ideal mustache. Immediately I pictured Lee Van Cleef and began to concentrate.

The Kyle Bauer Seven Day Method involves first wearing a tanktop or cutoff shirt for three days, or a leather jacket if it’s winter. On the fourth day you must eat a 16-ounce steak. Then for the last three days, it’s necessary to wear copious amounts of Aqua Velva cologne. Bathe in it, if necessary.

“But be careful,” Kyle said, falling into a thousand-yard stare, remembering epic mustachery of yore. “For some, the mustache is too much to handle. You may not like the person you become.”

Kyle sent me home with a DVD boxed set of “My Name is Earl” to watch. I could feel my hair follicles tingling in anticipation.

Day 2

I hesitated while shaving today. Why not go all the way with it, I thought, and grow a matching set of mutton chops? Why not go for the full-on Bob Vila chinstrap I’ve always wanted? I quickly remembered my last attempt at a beard, the anguish it caused those people, the fines I had to pay and the community service hours I was assigned. I shaved everything but the upper lip without a moment’s hesitation.

Day 3

Major setback today. Just as I was starting to have a few flecks of distinguish under my nose, the unthinkable happened. I met Burt Reynolds in an elevator. His mustache savagely beat mine. My upper lip now trembles in fear at the very thought of watching “Cannonball Run.” It’s going to take serious therapy to coax it into growing again. A “Reno 911” marathon may be in order.

Day 4

I realized I need a support group if I’m going to make this work. I challenged the rest of the men in the Oakland Post to a mustache growing competition. The results were not what I expected. Mike Sandula grew a Grover Cleveland style in a matter of hours. Bryan Culver made himself a Fu Manchu almost as if to mock me.

Things are getting dire. My only hope is to try that experimental Rogaine diet I’ve heard about on the news and in poison control brochures.

Day 5

A mixed blessing today, as I got the first signs of a pencil-thin, yet still noticeable ‘stash. However, I panicked when I tried to categorize it using the Geraldo Riviera/Chuck Norris Mustache Inventory. It seems I may be turning into Vincent Price. I’ve learned the whole monologue from “Thriller” just in case.

Moreover, I’m having doubts about my mustache growing ability. My mouth itches so much from the incredibly slow growing hair strands. And yet at the same time, I’ve already been mistaken for a magician. I may not be cut out to see this thing through.

The future

I may be doing more harm than good to the cause of raising cancer awareness with my mustache. When I meet new people, instead of them asking “Hey Rory, what’s with the new mustache?” they mostly say “I have mace.”

But honestly, I shouldn’t need to grow lip festoonery to draw attention to the cause.

While I may joke about it, organizations like the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation are doing everything they can to raise money for cancer research.

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