I can’t afford a Porsche. My home life is good. So what’s a slumping middle aged fart to do? Grow a beard naturally. Quickly becoming one of the dumbest moves of my life; one that leaves me scratching my face wondering how countless males over thousands of years indulge in what I am finding to be a facial fiasco.
There is really no serious backstory to my latest indulgence. I went on vacation for a week, didn’t shave, saw a picture of Michael Stipe online and thought, to myself; man, something like that would drive my mother nuts. In reality, she could not care less, but clearly I am harboring deep childhood resentments; and while the idea of growing a beard is quite manly, I am finding it quite childlike in oh, so many ways.
Friend: “So, you are growing a beard?”
Me: “Just channeling my inner Hemingway,” (can’t you tell by the quality of these prose?)
There are many aspects to this new endeavor that leave me scratching my face (including scratching my face). For starters, my upper lip has become a pulp filter for my daily glass of OJ. And I like a little pulp.
Additionally, at my age, I have an ongoing battle with the hair growing out of my nose. Now I have to contend with it growing up my nose. To make matters worse, it feels like there are spiders crawling up my nose. It does kind of tickle but terrifying when it wakes me up in the middle of the night.
And how the heck does anyone manage one of these things come winter and more specifically, cold season? Are there even enough hankies to deal with the drip? If mine lasts that long, there might be another article in the offing.
My lower lip is becoming like cactus. The constant prickling into my upper lip finally drove me to break out the razor on my lower lip. I was in constant fear of cutting my lower lip in the process. Just thinking about the pruning makes my flesh crawl.
And what about wild hairs? Vanity and desire not to be confused with Ted Kaczynski, Charles Manson or white supremacists, is preventing me from going full Grizzly Adams on this thing. I thought shaving was a pain in the ass, but pruning is far more dangerous and time consuming. Shaving around the edges is proving to require the steady hands of a brain surgeon. I am not a brain surgeon. I am shaving 1% of the area, yet my cut ratio has gone up 50%.
My face has become the bread basket of the world. Besides a gathering spot for orange pulp, it’s like fly paper for bread crumbs, hamburger juice, condiments, dressings, and pretty much anything else that does not enter my mouth via a straw. Domino’s kitchen sink pizza’s got nothing on my face. And it’s not just food, when I go outside, the thing is like a shrimper’s net, hauling in all kinds of flotsam and jetsam.
When it gets wet, it stays wet. I suppose I should have anticipated this. Drying the mop after bathing is not too bad, but as soon as I set foot into the 98% heat and 100% humidity of the sunny south, my empathy for Samoyed’s goes off the charts. At least Samoyeds are cute. I have no excuse for the sweat dripping pizza hanging off my face. It is as if my face has sprung a leak.
And what is going on under all this fur? Is my complexion returning to that nightmarish wreck that was my face from the ages of 15 through 20? The Horror. The Horror. And what about nits? Am I going to have to buy a monkey to pick the critters off my face?
Certainly, there are some reasonable arguments for the beard. At least, unlike my (regrettable) tatoo, when I can’t stand it anymore, I can go buy some Proactiv and a new razor and get rid of it.
So how long will my indulgence last? Hemingway’s beard did not end well. But that Michael Stipe thing?
Maybe I’ll let my mom decide.