Chapter 28: Kill the Rat
Two hours remained before I had to submit my body to the morning shift at Pizza Hut. Welcome to the fun that was the summer of 1990. A summer spent trying to save every nickel before kicking the can at University. So yes, I quit McDonald’s and began working at Pizza Hut. I was clearly destined for greatness.
I get out of the shower and proceed to the sink where I began my daily shaving ritual. Unfortunately, I had hair growth like a Yeti doused in Rogaine. A clean shaven face in the morning resulted in a textbook case of pitch-black 5-o’clock shadow in the evening. I could rent my face out as renewable 80-grit sandpaper.
A handful of cheap shaving cream lathers my stubby face, and I prepare to get to work cleaning up. And then I just stare at the mirror.
It should have dawned on me much earlier, but my thick curly hair and mustache gave me more than a passing resemblance to 80’s Weird Al Yankovic. But like much in life, one can become accustomed to even hideous things if they are routine. Maybe growing this was a bad idea.
With some hesitation, I put a bit more cream in my hands and apply lather to the hairy mistake. Within minutes, my face is smooth as a baby’s butt. For the first time in over a year, my upper lip is at last exposed to sunlight. I look at the guy in the mirror for a while. Hmm. I think it’s an improvement. We’ll see when I go out in public.
I arrived at work to start the morning shift where pizza dough had to be prepared and given time to rise. I worked with two ladies who were, to put it mildly, rather low class. Kind of mid-forties trailer-trash. But they had a lot of fun and jokes were plentiful, so I enjoyed it for what it was. This day though, I felt like I was being watched. Because I was.
“You shaved that thing off?” one of them says. Never a good sign when your previous fashion choice is referred to as a thing.
I sheepishly look for some insight. “What do you think? I just shaved it off this morning, but I’m not so sure I should have.”
“He’s actually…kinda good looking,” one says to the other. I’m not sure how to process that. A compliment, I guess?
“So you’re saying I shouldn’t grow it back?” I ask.
“J— C—, do not grow it back!” one yells. The other concurs immediately as if desperate to make sure I don’t accidentally walk into a Pauly Shore movie.
Such a strong response solidified the deal. The lip-rat would remain dead. In fact, it dawned on me that the hairy rodent might well have been a dating deal breaker with a lot of ladies. Honestly can’t blame them. I don’t imagine 80’s Weird Al was ever seen as a cultural sex symbol. I suppose at the very least I can thank the old lip-rat for having kept me out of trouble.