January 19, 2006
Things people say about my beard.
I suppose it's gotten a little ridiculous. I have not shaved since November 4th, for our graduate conference. Even then, I hadn't shaved in a week and expressed my intent to grow my winter beard to my wife. She insisted that I shave that day. So I did. Since then, we've decided to move to Baltimore, gotten rid of the car and have adopted a minorly different lifestyle and totally different outlook. I suppose that part of me is afraid this will all go away if I shave. Sorta like Sampson, minus the brute strength and whole hero thing. I guess I look strange. Etc. But how long can you get away with that, before you get a "real job"? I don't have any photos that I took of my beard, minus the one of Bowman and I from a few weeks ago. He's got some at his blog, though. Guess which one's me:) The top things people say about my beard, in no particular order: 1) Muslim/Terrorist. An un-named history professor said that I looked like a Muslim and that "when the Muslims take over," I'll fit it. Didn't know they were taking over, but I suppose it's better than the extreme religious Right. I get the whole, "You look like a terrorist," thing a lot. That's funny if you saw how short my legs are and knew what a wimp I am. If I didn't cap anyone at my father's step-mother's funeral, I never will. And I didn't realize that all dudes with beards were Muslims and that all Muslims were terrorists. Now I do. 2) A hippy. Yeah, I guess I've turned into one. Guess that's what I get for getting married barefoot and graduating from college naked (under my gown). Yeah, naked. 3) A lumberjack. I take this as a compliment. Tough and real. Funny that the first two people to mention this are muscular and each have a shaved head and scary beard and are both very very nice. Not funny, but interesting. The other one is a small guy. He could hide in my beard if he were so inclined. 4) A Thoreau scholar/Thoreauvian. One of the highest compliments I can imagine receiving. Though one person said it in the, "You think you're Thoreau, but you're not," kind of way. I don't give a shit, though, since she's an ass (no, she doesn't read this). 5) "Off the Pickle Boat"/Polish immigrant. Gotten that before, especially from my Library of Congress I.D. from January 2003. I'm exactly 1/4 Polish, so that makes sense I guess. Though I look exactly like my father at 26, and he's not Polish at all. So maybe not. My Polish grandmother exclaims, "What the hell do you think you look like?" "You!" I say. But I'm only kidding. Yeah. 6) Offers to shave by coercion or force. My Korean War veteran great-uncle (who is the coolest old guy around) told my Army Supply Division brother to hold me down and shave it. I asked my brother not to and told him I'd kick him in the nuts. But I think his decision not to pin me down and shave me comes more from a lack of desire to see my cheeks than a fear that I could actually get my leg up high enough to kick that tall sumbitch in the nuts. Or maybe he knows I'd never kick my brother in his fellas. I've gotten offers of up to $100 to shave it. But A) I'd rather have my beard; and B) I don't want to ransom anyone's children for $100 when they say they were only joking. 7) What tools it would take to shave me. Bowman's brother said it would take hedge clippers, and someone mentioned a sheep-shearing device. Don't know what you call that sort of clipper. 8) Evil/Good(Cuddly). I'm not evil. Thanks. Cuddly. I sure am that. Thanks. 9) "Damn, you're gonna be able to braid that soon!" Maybe. But that would hurt, and I don't want to have dreadlocks hanging from my neck, dude. I'm not quite a Viking. 10) The reddishness of my beard. Duh. I've had reddish-brown hair since I stopped being a blonde in pre-school. Thanks for noticing. Love you.