Thursday, 29 January 2009

University Professors and Petrol Station Attendants

What do petrol station attendants and university professors have in common? I don't know, it's a daft question that defies generalisation. However, there are two men, one a university professor and one a petrol station attendant, who have something in common.

I drove back from a nearby city and stopped for fuel on the way home. The guy behind the till, a man in his late 40s with a soup-bowl hair cut, had clean fingernails and was cleanly shaven except for half of his mustache. It was the kind of growth that is more than four or five days long and less than an intentionally grown facial adornment. The rest of his face had seen some blades, as recently as this morning. Somehow, over successive days, I estimate about 10 days, he managed to miss the same patch of facial hair every time he shaved. The result was half a moustache growing from his left lip. No herpes or any other obvious impediment to shaving was visible.

This immediately reminded me of a professor at my alma mater. This gentleman, I figured, dry-shaved. The trouble with dry shaving is that if you don't do it in the mirror you are likely to miss a bit, and if you miss a bit, and then miss it again, it gets too long for the electric razor to pick up.

The result for him was a hirsute fence, up to half an inch long, that delineated the lower perimeter of his face. Around his neck, past his ears, under his cheekbones, under his nose and round again.

Presumably these two men either don't give a shit or they never look in the mirror. The alternative, that it is deliberate, is too weird to contemplate.

Here is a superb Mustache link

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