Don't shave that 'stache, Keith Hernandez
September, 6, 2012
By Aaron Perlut | Special to ESPN.com
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesKeith Hernandez's mustache is Americana. It's all we know. It's all we can believe in.It’s election season, but while the Democrats and Republicans make their respective cases to political constituencies, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will have to forgive people of mustached American heritage, as their focus is on far more pressing matters.
Indeed, as first reported in The New York Times, the expiration of the long-term relationship between mustached American icon Keith Hernandez and Just For Men hair coloring may bring about a seminal moment in modern history. You see, Hernandez -- who won the American Mustache Institute’s 2007 Greatest Sports Mustache of All Time balloting -- told the Times’ Richard Sandomir that he is in discussions with his luxurious lower nose forestry unit to separate before season’s end.
This epic divorce would entail Hernandez shaving off his legendary lip sweater -- baring his face for one of the first times since Gerald Ford lived in the White House.
"I’ll do it," Hernandez said of shaving his mouth-shading device prior to the New York Mets’ final broadcast of the season. "...and whoever’s watching the game will see it."
This stunt goes far beyond the locker room towel-snapping of Hernandez’s playing days, or even beyond his ruggedly handsome mustached American good looks. It creates a crisis of confidence for the mustached American community who look to him as a leader and symbol of better years -- the golden decade of the 1970s when our people were welcomed into daycares, movie theaters or positions of power and influence -- and not shunned like common shopping-mall trolls.
No, the myopic nature of his brazen threat paints a clear picture of the former major leaguer’s selfish failure to recognize that he and his upper-lip jungle are more than simple man and connected mustache. He threatens to turn the clock back to a time of great pain and despair -- the bare-faced era of the 1980s and '90s.
And that is because Hernandez represents more than just a former Major League Baseball player whose numbers would suggest he should be, at the very least, in the Hall of Very Good. He represents an idea, a common belief, an often disregarded community of hardworking, salt-of-the-earth citizens, and a way of life that represents everything great about America -- brisk, manly cologne, ribbed turtleneck sweaters and brightly painted eight-cylinder automobiles with impressive pipework rising out of the hoods.
What Hernandez has become blind to, is, in fact, who and what he is: A proud person of mustached American descent. And this is a betrayal of the mustached American community which has looked to him as a shining, hairy beacon of freedom, justice and the American dream.
We would ask him to look deeply within his soul and not turn his back on the community of mustached Americans who have steadfastly stood by him, even tolerating his performances on "Seinfeld," for so many years.
Mr. Hernandez: Don't tear down the dream. Don’t remove that mustache.
Dr. Aaron Perlut is the chairman of the American Mustache Institute.