Come spring, a young man’s thoughts turn to….playoff hockey? OK, some young men, certainly. In solidarity with the New York Rangers — currently leading the Washington Capitals 3 games to 1 (not that you’d know from reading this blog, sadly) — The Gil Meche Experience‘s Pulp has a playoff beard on the go (“it allows me to feel like I’m doing more than just simple rooting”), however it’s not all fun and games at TGME HQ. You see, Pulp has a hot date Friday night.

I like this girl, so I don’t want to scare her off by seeming weird or looking like a deranged homeless man. My friend Dan suggested joking about it off the bat, but even calling attention to it makes me nervous, since then I’ll think she’s always staring at it and wondering if that’s food caught in it. Which is a ridiculous idea because I can’t even grow a beard thick enough to catch food in it.

There has to be something in my DNA that’s causing this, because I’m far from the first person in my family to sacrifice social grace for Rangers playoff action. In 1994, my dad was attending a family friend’s anniversary party. It just happened to fall on the same night as Rangers/Devils Game 7. So my dad, doing what any fan would do, turned the game on during the party. Whoops, bad move. Everyone stopped dancing and even the band stopped playing to revel in the drama up intil Stephane Matteau’s big moment. The family friend still doesn’t speak to my dad. Still, my mom married him, so there are obviously women out there who understand the problems associated with playoff hockey. I guess, maybe? I don’t know.

Make no mistake though, I can’t get rid of the beard, especially with the Rangers up 3-1 and heading to Washington on Friday to try to put their first round series away. The Rangers need me. They need me and my terrible beard. Don’t think the beard works? Shows what you know. Henrik Lundqvist’s inhuman performance? Chris Drury’s odd angle goal last night? Alexander Ovechkin’s thus far quiet series? It’s all thanks to the beard, friends, this I know.

I usually not the superstitious type, but I’ve not trimmed my eyebrows since the start of the Mets’ current 4-game losing streak.