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Bateman: The Moustache Column of America

By Oliver Bateman

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We at the Moustache Club of America tell stories. In our stories, characters neither grow nor… We at the Moustache Club of America tell stories. In our stories, characters neither grow nor change. Plots never thicken. No one learns a moral lesson. Nothing gets resolved.

Owing to our long experience with writing about nothing, The Pitt News asked us to develop a regular column that their readers will be sure to cherish and romanticize. Few subjects offer more opportunity for stories about nothing than the college life, which in our inexpert opinion appeared to consist mostly of wearing backwards baseball caps, sleeping late, and playing state-of-the-art video games.

Before we get into the heavier stuff that we’re saving for later pieces, we wanted to survey the field. Perhaps the parts of the college life were greater than the whole — a whole that we thought was one-thirds backwards baseball caps. In order to complicate our model, we decided to rustle up some “slice-of-life” vignettes.

We started in a dormitory. One young freshman, weak of chin but strong of will, stood in front of a mirror with a razor in his hand. When he shaved, would he leave a small area where a goatee might grow? And would this goatee, if grown, change his life? Would it at least give him something to stroke during his boring gen. ed. class? He touched the razor to his cheek, but we didn’t stick around to learn the result.

After leaving the freshman, we sat in on a large gen. ed. class. Three hundred teenagers sort of listened as an old man droned on about some topic that wasn’t nearly as interesting as what that fat girl on Jersey Shore did last night. We know this because students were using their laptops to catch up on her goings-on. She was really something, that sassy fat girl.

When that class ended, we rushed to the student cafeteria. One girl was showing another girl some hairdo that Suri Cruise had, a hairdo so famous that it had been profiled in a glossy supermarket tabloid. The hairdo did look exciting, but we couldn’t stop now. There were many other slice-of-life vignettes still to observe.

At the gym, we saw a bunch of guys who were pumping iron. They used innovative techniques, turning their bicep curls — the only exercise any of them seemed be doing — into back exercises with little more than terrible form. Those guys deserved their own infomercial.

Outside the gym, some students were talking about how bad the local teams were and how good the local teams used to be. The local teams had won championships as recently as last year, but no matter. The local teams were terrible, every one of their losses amounted to a dagger in a true fan’s heart, and all of the top stars were overpaid and should be traded. Another student interrupted this conversation to say something about the local teams in his part of the state. He was told to “shut it.”

The last place we visited was the Important Men’s Club, where all the city’s big movers and shakers go to talk shop. There we watched two local politicians drink highballs and discuss how the proposed tax on university tuition would stick it to all those fat cat undergrads who had been luxuriating in the lap of luxury for far too long.

After sampling college life’s rich pageant, we concluded that even a 50 percent tuition tax would be a small price to pay for an experience like this. College is an amazing ride you can take only once, unless of course you re-enroll and take it again.

The Moustache Column of America is a new recurring feature in The Pitt News and a spin-off from the Moustache Club of America, a blogzine produced by the Moustache Collective of America. You can read their stories at moustacheclub.wordpress.com. These stories aren’t about vampires, so don’t go writing them hate mail when you click on that link and see nothing about milky white skin, fangs, or bloodsucking.

E-mail Oliver at olb8@pitt.edu.

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Bateman: The Moustache Column of America