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I had a Schmuckstache

I don’t get out much. A few years ago when I had a job, my business partner Dave and I decided to go to a conference in Las Vegas. Since we had a room we thought we would invite our two cheapest friends – Jim and Steve. To be honest, we’re a bit cheap also because all four of us staying in the room really brought the price down.

A little back story is that just a couple of weeks before I had been to Istanbul, Turkey with a couple of friends for a week-long stay. I got permission from Cynthia because she had already been there and I was ripe with frequent flyer miles (it didn’t hurt that there was only one kid at the time). In preparation for my trip I decided to grow a beard. This has happened about once every ten years. And when I grow a beard, I grow a beard. No trimming need apply. So I grew the crazy beard for about 5 months before the trip. At the end, the beard would get up before me and go out for breakfast and coffee. When I came home I shaved it off. Of course, no matter the age, one has to shave it off in phases and check out each beard/sideburn/fu Manchu/van dyke/ soul patch phase. This time I decided to leave the mustache as a joke to show my friend Jim. I didn’t end up seeing Jim for a week, then another, and finally decided to just wear the mustache to Vegas.

For those of you who can wear a mustache, my hats off to you. Now brace yourselves fellas – the amount of guys that can wear a mustache is proportionally much small than the amount of guys who wear mustaches. Yes, I said it. If you have a mustache, there’s a 90% chance that you look like a shmuck. I had one of those out of high school never shaved above my lip mustaches that went much longer than it should have. Sometimes I think that I only had it until the age of 19 or 20, but unfortunately for me, I had it until around 22 or 23 until I awoke one day and my thin mustache fog cleared and it became evident that I was a schmuck.

I really wanted Jim to see my forty-one year old Schmuckstache. And Vegas seemed like the perfect place to have the Schmuckstache. I normally wear cheap aviator glasses. These glasses seemed to go together well with the Schmuckstashe.

So, best friends of twenty-five years and cheap and two queen beds are all the factors that can only lead to guys sharing beds. Steve and Dave shared a bed and Jim and I shared a bed. Now the trick to sharing the bed for the grown up guys who are happily married (to women) is that there needs to be a divider sheet. Let me explain, dear reader. For example, Jim and I were in a bed that had blankets. One person would lie under the sheet and the other person lies on top of the sheet. This assures no awkward skin on skin contact. I believe we both were wearing dress slacks as pajamas, so it ends up just being more of a territory marker.

We were in Vegas 3 or 4 nights. I get claustrophobic if I have to be under a sheet, so I’d taken the position on top of the sheet. The last night Jim and I (not much for the gambling) decided to call it a night early. I kept meaning to shave off my schmuckstache, but never got around to it. Jim and I got back to the room and I thought it was funny to have my sunglasses on. We took a picture of me in my sunglasses and white t-shirt, which made me look like a Chicago security guard. We then proceeded to watch some tv. The odd thing is, and I have no real explanation other than laziness or efficiency at such a high level that I can’t even comprehend it, we sat on the same bed to watch tv.  Even though the other guys weren’t there, we went to our predetermined locations. Like I said, sometimes I’m a mighty lazy man and any kind of change would have been work. Jim is the kind of guy who is at most times thinking about fishing or how he will get his wife to let him go fishing – so, he was probably thinking about fishing.

After a few minutes, I decide that I would care to partake of the drink and I promptly ordered some wine from room service. When they asked how many glasses, not wanting to appear the loser I said two – even though I knew Jim would rather put a daredevil through his finger than drink a glass of wine.

As we’re watching tv, Jim started to complain about sleeping on the underside of the sheet. He requested what for all practical purposes was a sheet divider recall vote. I was the incumbent top sheet guy and he wanted it. I tried to ignore him so the topic could go away. He didn’t gamble, he didn’t drink much, he just really wanted the last night in Vegas to be on the top of that dang sheet.

“I wanna be on top,” he said loudly.

“I’m on the top. We agreed,” I said seeming like there are only a few things to stand up for in this crazy world.

 Now he was uncharacteristically loud, “I’m sick of being on the bottom. It’s the last night here. I’m on top tonight”

There’s a knock at the door. It must be my wine. I get up quickly and walk to the door. As I pass the mirror I see the reflection of me in a white t-shirt, aviator sun glasses, and the schmuckstache. Oh no. This doesn’t look or sound good. Just as I open the door. Jim, watching tv and not paying attention, says “That’s it. I’m on top tonight.”

As I open the door a nervous man holding a bottle of wine and two wine glasses steps only a short way into the room. He doesn’t make eye contact. I can’t make eye contact because of the sunglasses. Jim still doesn’t comprehend what’s happened here. I tip the guy and he exits quickly. He says something about enjoy yourselves in a non judgemental kind of way.

When he left I explain to Jim what the room service guy must have been thinking then I start to shave off my schmuckstache. Jim says, “Well, I’m still on top tonight.”

I reply, ” Yes, you can be on top of the sheet tonight. I just didn’t know how important it was to you.”

Sadly Yours,

Jason Spafford

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