The Natural History of the Mustache

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You may not be aware of it — it didn’t get a lot of press, for some reason — but last week marked an important historical anniversary: exactly one billion years ago last Thursday, the world’s first mustache crawled up out of the primordial sea onto dry land. Of course, a billion years ago, there were no paparazzi on the shore with popping flashbulbs; no one set off any fireworks to mark the occasion; there were no tickertape parades. Yet the significance of that event was astronomical, for it would forever change the face of mankind.

The face of mankind, however, did not yet exist. Humans wouldn’t arrive on the planet for hundreds of millions of years. The mustache would have to wait.

While it waited, it multiplied. After only a few million years, the mustache population had grown to an alarming size. There were now more mustaches on earth than any other form of facial hair, including the eyebrow. Traveling in great herds consisting of several thousand individuals, the mustaches would sweep across the ancient African plain, leaving in their wake a trail of destruction several miles wide. Any animal that lay in their path was enveloped in a veil of murderous whiskers. They could skeletonize a brontosaurus in a matter of minutes. Even the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex — king of the dinosaurs — would avoid a mustache encounter at any cost. Known as the Mustacheoic era, this was the mustache’s golden age. Never again would it exist in such great numbers. Never again would it command such respect.

The seeds of the mustache’s downfall were sown by its very success. They were such proficient hunters, they would often kill far more than they needed, and rather than waste food, the mustaches gorged. As time went on, they grew increasingly fat, until most were as big as haystacks. Their excess pounds slowed them so much, they could barely hunt. No longer the swift and deadly creatures they once were, they now proved easy targets for the very predators that had once fled from them in mortal panic. Soon the plains were littered with the bodies of dead mustaches. Blood flowed in a million scarlet streams. It soaked into the earth, transforming the plains into a crimson landscape straight out of Hell. The mustache plunged toward extinction.

This was the mustache’s darkest hour. It was an hour that would last three million years. During this time, the mustache population was so small, it left no evidence that it even existed. No mustache fossil dating from this period has ever been found and, consequently, almost nothing is known about the mustache’s day-to-day life during these years. What did it eat? Where did it live? Did it interbreed with sideburns? The answers to these questions and to others like them are forever hidden behind a thick wall of impenetrable mystery.

As the Ice Age began, the mustache reëmerged on a grand scale. It is one of the greatest recoveries in the history of the natural world. Suddenly, the mustache was everywhere. Seemingly overnight, its population had soared to heights rivaling those of the Mustacheoic era.

What had caused such a dramatic resurgence? It is a question that once baffled the world’s greatest minds. Freud had hypothesized a decade-long orgy, while Einstein pointed to a newly evolved strain of huckleberry. Both, it turned out, were monumentally wrong.

In 1961, two French scientists, while looking for a lost Frisbee in a snowbank in northern Siberia, stumbled upon a startling discovery: lying just beneath the snow was an almost perfectly preserved woolly mammoth. They never found their Frisbee, but their mammoth would soon stun the world.

On close inspection, the mammoth’s woolly coat was discovered to be composed entirely of mustaches. In a mutually beneficial arrangement, the mustaches had insulated the mammoths from the severe cold, and the mammoths, in turn, had provided the mustaches not only with warmth and transportation, but also with sustenance: for the mustaches would feed on the mammoths’ blood. News that the mammoth was actually a pink and hairless species rocked the scientific world. But even more shocking was the news that the once-noble mustache had become a lowly parasite. Riots broke out around the globe.

After several days, the riots died down, but anti-mustache sentiment persisted everywhere. The leading scientific journals published articles vilifying the mustache for driving the beloved mammoth to extinction. Angry mobs set out into the wilderness seeking vengeance. When they found a mustache, they shot it execution-style, then burnt the corpse to cinders.

Nearly a year after the initial riots, it was reported on the front page of the New York Times that the world’s last mustache had been killed earlier that morning. The news kicked off a global celebration that lasted for weeks.

Merrymakers around the world would have been surprised to learn that, despite everything, the mustache was far from extinct. But it was true: Millions of mustaches were alive and well, hiding in plain sight, right under their very noses.

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Executive Insults

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Wow, that’s a nice painting you’ve got in your office, Miller. I think I saw the same one down by the urinals at the Bowlerama.

No, no, no. Don’t worry, Cindy. This is great takeout you got for our team meeting. And I’m sure it looked good, too. (Pause.) You know, before someone sat on it. (Longer pause.) And haphazardly tossed salad dressing over it all. (Even longer pause.) And burnt it.

So, Thompson. Where’d you learn to erase a whiteboard? The School of Slow, Small Concentric Circles That Never Touch the Corners?

I was impressed by your e-mail, Henderson. You spelled two words correctly, which I believe is a new personal best. Congratulations!

Nice double Windsor you got there, Miller. By the way, I was completely lying. That is a horrible double Windsor you got there, Miller.

No, Tony, I wouldn’t say your voice-mail message is the longest and most convoluted I’ve ever heard, no. I wouldn’t say that. What I would say, however, is that your voice-mail message is not as unlong and nonconvoluted as anyone else’s ever.

Hey, Keri, do you know how to fix the photocopier? I hope so, because you broke it.

(Holds hand up for a high-five with raised eyebrows and an open mouth, then moves it away at the last second.)

Yeah, well, guess what, Steve? The mailroom called. And they want YOU back! (Picks up a piece of mail and casually tosses it on the floor.) Oh, whoops. (Making a mock-concerned face.) Can you get that, Steve?

Hey, that’s a really nice suitcase you got there, Miller. Oh…I’m sorry…incredibly outdated cell phone.

I’m sorry if I gave you that impression, Cindy. It’s not that I hate Take Your Kids to Work Day. It’s that I hate your kids.

How’d you do on your performance evaluation, Judy? Did they overlook your complete incompetence again?

I got to hand it to you, Miller. And by “it” I mean this pink slip. Oh, by the way, the Bowlerama called. They want their painting back.

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Tips On Crime Prevention

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Minimize the amount of money and credit cards that you carry with you on a daily basis to avoid theft. In the event that you need money or credit cards, steal them.

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When being robbed, remain as calm as possible. Don’t make any quick or sudden movements. Often the criminal is as scared and nervous as you. Remember: over 45 percent of first-time robbers are bears.

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Always carry some form of identification. A label in your clothing will help police to identify your severely mangled, repeatedly penetrated corpse in the event that you are severely mangled then repeatedly penetrated by an attacker.

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A bag that dangles from the shoulder can be easily yanked off your shoulder by someone coming up from behind. Glue all belongings to your face and body with fast-binding adhesive.

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While enjoying a walk in a city park, take care to avoid hilly and steep paths. If you should fall and roll down a hill, thieves may rob you on the way down, and you will be powerless to stop them.

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Closely supervise your children when they play in public areas. If you spot them being robbed, run as quickly as you can to the parking lot and lock your belongings in your car. Do not remove them until the robber has finished robbing your children and is safely on his way.

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Weld your garage door shut at night to prevent car theft. In the morning, drive through the garage door at full speed, immediately dispatching any burglars attempting to break in from the other side.

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Stay on well-lit, populated streets at all times. It is a well-known fact that thieves will never attempt to rob you in crowded, distracting areas with the harsh glare of the sun in your eyes.

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When explaining the details of a crime to authorities, be sure to omit certain details while inventing others. Tactics like this keep the instincts of our city’s fine detectives honed and whip-sharp, where they need to be.

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Should someone attempt to verbally harass you, continue walking and ignore them. Responding to this kind of behavior will only escalate the situation. Instead, follow them home at a discreet distance. When they fall asleep, kill them.

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Carry large sums of cash on your person at all times. Displays of wealth make robbers feel too depressed about their own state in life to rob you.

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Never leave luggage or other expensive items unattended at airports or taxi stands. When extinguishing a cigarette in a designated airport smoking area, take care not to leave any Rolex watches in the ashtray by accident. Never carry your wallet in your rear pants pocket. This makes your butt look fat. Instead, keep your wallet out at all times, “fanning” your money outwards in a Ted DiBiase-like display of wealth, so that females — and not robbers — become attracted to you.

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When driving, travel on well-lighted, populated roadways whenever possible and keep the doors of the vehicle locked. Be wary of other motorists who give you vague warnings while on the road. In 78 percent of cases, this means that the stranger you are conversing with on your cell phone has a hook for a hand, and is actually in the backseat getting ready to ventilate your skull. The other motorists aren’t harassing you — they have been trying to warn you, all along.

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