Extreme Makeover – Beard Edition

I know, I’ve been slacking terribly. The blog has suffered in direct proportion to the length of my horrible beard-hair.  It must know how much I hate it.  How much I want to write about how bad it sucks.  Obviously, the beard has achieved sentience and is now taking greater and greater control of my life.

Beard, let me tell you something… your days are numbered.  Come Friday, you will be little more than scattered hairs clogging my sink.  An ignominious end for such a constant and horrific part of my life for the previous 2 months.  What follows are the observations and dislikes about having just such patchy carpet on my face.

Early on, it was itchy.  Like really itchy.  Normally, I shave about every three days or so since I don’t have the follicle coverage to require daily shaving.  So, towards the end of the first week, I really wasn’t in too much discomfort.  However, this quickly escalated.

As the length slowly increased, I noticed lots of other little changes.  Like, my neck chaffing my own shoulder when laying in bed.  Hmmm… that’s not too fun…  But that was small potatoes compared to what was to come.

This rug got longer and longer.  Unfortunately, the length didn’t cover-up just how patchy the friggin thing is.  It basically breaks down like this.  My cheeks have what I would term “scattered coverage”.  Truly pathetic.  Along my jaw line, it is thick enough that you can actually see it, then down on my neck we get the full effect.  Maybe I’m “too tall” for my beard… stay with me, but if the beard was in the same spot, but I was 5 inches shorter, I think we might be in business.  But as it stands, we’re 80% neck beard.  But that’s not all.  The right side of my neck is thicker and more lush than my left side.  No, I don’t know why.  I decided in the very beginning that I was going to go for the non-trimmed look.  As such, the neck-beard has gotten completely out of control, while my cheeks are just hanging out wondering what the big deal is.

Next, we have the color.  I’m a redhead.  Despite what I termed in high school to be “volcanic blonde”, its red.  There’s nothing I can do about that.  As such, my beard is mostly deep red.  But that’s not the whole story.  I have single strands of black, brown, blonde, and white scattered throughout the landscape.  The white ones are really fun, since in the right light (like the florescents here in the office bathroom) make those gleam like the full moon.  The first time I saw that I was a bit taken aback, as you might imagine.

It is the overall aesthetic of the thing that I hate.  I look like a homeless person.  Or someone trapped on a desert island.  Or an Iranian hostage on day 64 of captivity.  My biggest fear everyday is bumping into someone I haven’t seen for years.  You know, that small quick “How you doin?  Good.  You?  Good.  Great to see ya.  You too.” conversation where the beard would not get mentioned.  Then that person going away with the singular thought of “dear god what the hell was that!?”  Not good times.  So far, it hasn’t happened… but then again, there may have been times where I was out and about and someone saw me and absolutely declined to say ‘hello’ due to this thing.  “Yeah, I ran into Haberman at Costco the other day, but he had some sort of beard-type thing going on and it looked like he might have been out of work, so I didn’t say Hi.”

Those are the outward trials and tribulations.  For me, there were other unforeseen consequences of having random 2 inch long hairs covering a previously smooth section of my body.

I’m a fidgeter.  I bounce my knees, I play with pens, I just do.  As such, having this strange thing on my face is going to cause me to constantly touch it.  Rub it.  Make myself nuts.  And it has.  I find myself randomly stroking my face like some sort of evil genius from a Bond movie.  I hate doing it, but I’m compelled to.

The first time I drank from a glass and the hairs on my lip grabbed onto the rim, that was a shocker.  I didn’t dig that feeling at all.  I’m big on textures and sensations, and that one was a very alien feeling.  Or, the first time I pursed my lips and my mustache climbed up and tickled my nose sent me over the edge.  It happens waaaay too often due to the fact that none of the hairs in my beard/mustache played nice and laid down.  Oh no.  They gotta stand straight out at all times.  Except, of course for those curly ones.  That feeling of the hairs all sorta tangled together pulling at each other is definitely one I will not miss.

How about having to wipe my face 10,000 times at every meal?  Saucy foods?  Forget about it.  I just love brushing my teeth, then having to wash out the beard because half of the toothpaste foam found its way to my face.  How about the first time I found a stray dog hair attached to my beard?  That was a lot of fun.  It only got worse the 40th time it happened.

The fact that I now had to make a conscious effort to dry my face when I got out of the shower was new as well.  The first time the beard was long enough to hold onto significant water and I put a shirt on only to have the beard drench the shirt was definitely… um… interesting.

Ever notice that every hermit, outlaw biker, criminal, terrorist, and other random scumbag all have straggly beards?  This isn’t coincidence.  It’s the beard’s fault.  All these people were perfectly normal until the beards started growing and took over.  Frankly, I feel like way more of a scuzbucket with this thing.  A bit lazier.  A bit less ambitious.  A bit more anti-social.  I think I’m about another month of facial hair growth away from moving to a shack in Montana and spending my time writing anti-government propaganda and sending mailbombs.

For all the above reasons, as well as 1000 other smaller niggling reasons, (the easy go-to jokes won’t be missed… Christian I’m looking at you.) this thing is going.  And it is going with extreme prejudice.  I will never grow a beard again.  Period.  End of story.  I want my baby face back.  Don’t even get me started on how sick Jess is of the whole thing…

For those of you who don’t know exactly why I did this, you can read that here.  I am happy to say that Jeff is doing well.  On the road to recovery.  All told, this beard growing contest and it’s participants have raised over $1000 for his medical bills.  I know my 2 months of mild discomfort simply cannot compare with his 2 months of extreme pain.  And at least I get to shave soon.  Jeff has months and months to go.  Hang in there buddy.  We all miss you here in the office.

And so, beard… you do not win.  I win.  You will be vanquished.  I will be victorious.  I CANNOT wait to see your ugly carcass circling the drain.  There will be much celebration on that day, I can tell you.

7 Replies to “Extreme Makeover – Beard Edition”

  1. Let me tell you, with an intercostal strain in my rib cage that makes mere breathing and excruciating exercise I had to stop reading this the first time. The laughter was torture. Thank you for making my pain worse, but really… this is damn funny stuff. I can honestly say I’ll welcome your baby face back.

  2. Whoa whoa whoa… what is this? Mike, you can’t just come blasting from the past and start dropping bombs. It don’t work that way, me boyo.

    How about a “hello” first?

    Sheesh… everyone’s a critic…

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