By Andrew Blumetti
Tom Selleck. Super Mario. Rollie Fingers. Ron Swanson.
Just a sampling of some of the most killer mustaches of our generation. Who doesn’t love an impressive growth of whiskers smack on the upper lip? Whether it’s a sinister handlebarred villain tying a doomed damsel to the train tracks, or a lanky 1970’s pitcher spitting out his chew on the mound, the hairy gamut is fully covered.
Oddly enough, two well-known soup strainers are continually criminally overlooked on our favorite ‘stache list… but why? What’s being covered up in Mascot Land?
In the biggest conspiracy theory since the Kennedy assassination, I plan to unearth the mysterious truth of two beloved logos: The Pringles face and the old Monopoly mascot. Eat your hearts out Mulder and Scully…
But before this gets hairy, let’s look a little bit closer at the backs of the baseball cards of these two fellas:
Full Name: Julius Pringles
Business: The lucrative potato chip game
First Appearance: 1968
Favorite Saying: “Once you pop, you can’t stop”
Net Worth: $1 billion per year
Full Name: Milburn “Uncle” Pennybags, AKA “Mr. Monopoly”
Business: Worldwide-known board game icon
First Appearance: 1936
Favorite Saying: “Get out of jail, free”
Net Worth: $7.1 billion
Can’t deny it, the similarities are striking. Both are billionaires with bushy mustaches, seldom-scene mouths, expressive eyebrows and eyes as black as Darth Vader’s soul. When you get to the bottom of it, what is it with these two that the public has been missing over the past 43 years? Are they just one character? Long lost twins? An eerie kowinkedink?
Well, I’ll give you a minute to get your bookies on the phone, cause like a Kentucky Derby pre-race special, we’re gonna break down our odds here…
Are they just the same person?: Pennybags ditches that out-of-style top hat, throws on a cheap toupee, and buys some brown hair dye, and BAM!, we’ve got ourselves a secret identity that even Bruce Wayne would envy. On the other hand, it would seem unnecessary and strange that Uncle Pennybags, a man with a money bin larger than Scrooge McDuck’s, would need to add on a second job in the often-turbulent snack food world. Odds: 3:1
Separated at birth?: Well, sure, it’s a valid idea, but the biggest flaw in this reasoning lies in their ages and appearances. Much like any young attractive Hollywood starlet who dates Wilmer Valderrama, something just doesn’t add up here. Pringles has a relatively more youthful look that would land him the job of a burnout roadie for Steppenwolf if he’d ever take a minute to get off that tennis ball can. Mr. Monopoly, on the other hand, looks like a crotchety, rich old man sitting in a lifeboat, watching the poor immigrants slowly sink on the Titanic. Odds: 9:1
Just a big coincidence?: In theory, this bland one seems to be the most likely. It’s not hard to swallow the idea that two big companies just chose similar-looking ‘stachy mascots for their products. But where’s the fun in that? C’mon people, live a little. Odds: 12:1
They are actually both Wilfred Brimley?: Well, if you’re like me, you’re always a sucker for a dark horse. This one is like picking the Pittsburgh Pirates back in April to win the World Series this October. When Halloween rolls around, it’s looking pretty good you’re going to be happy as a clam that you made that bet. Now, I don’t know much about diabetes, but I think Pringles are safe, and that curmudgeon Brimley would be sitting there getting the last laugh when all that lucrative oat money runs out. Here’s your golden longshot folks. Odds: 50:1
So, where does that bring us? I guess ultimately, we will never know. It seems more likely we will find out who shot Nice Guy Eddie in Reservoir Dogs before we settle this mettlesome mustachioed mascot mystery. (For the record, I still think it was the ghost of freshly one-eared dead cop who shot him, but that’s just a stab in the dark.)
Perhaps deep down, that’s the fun of it. Maybe the next time you’re in the middle of “not stopping” once you’ve popped, or forking hundreds of pastel play dollars over for landing on Park Place, you can throw your own theory into the logo ring too.
Now, I’ve gotta go trademark this whole thing, before sweaty Michael Moore makes a sweaty movie out of it.