Thursday, December 17, 2015

Trust Me, I Have a Beard

So I'm surfing the net, trying to jump start my muse... and let me tell you something, when you need to jump start your muse, do not use jumper cables. That's some messed up shit there and I don't recommend it. 

Where was I? Oh yeah...

So I'm surfing the net, trying to jump start my muse and decided to see what's going on in the world of politics. Right now the big story in politics is the race to the bottom to see who will be the Republican nominee for President of the United States. But not much muse stimulation going on there. OK, Donald Trump says something stupid, everyone gets indignant over the stupid thing Trump said and his poll numbers go up. I think we have the pattern down on that. 

But while the focus is on the future of government leadership and the apocalyptic fires of hell that will rain down upon us if Trump gets anywhere near the nomination, there's stuff going on in government right now.  For example, there's this: 

Congress Ready To Pass Massive Spending Bill That Nobody Especially Likes

“Republicans didn’t get all that we wanted. Democrats didn’t get all that [they] wanted. This is a bipartisan compromise," said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) who went on to add...

Holy shit! When did Paul Ryan grow a beard?!?!

Well, apparently I haven't been paying attention as it seems Congressman Ryan came back from his Thanksgiving break sporting his new facial hair garden. And I'm not sure what to make of that. 

I've had a beard for most of my adult life. My beard first came into being in my sophomore year in college. While racing down a hallway to get to a class, I slipped and fell, cutting a big ol' gash in my chin. At the nearby student clinic, I had the first stitches ever as my chin was sewn up. It was actually quite a pleasant experience. I was given something for the pain and there were these nice, pleasant people hovering around me, it was a transcendent moment. It may have been the first time I experienced the joy and comfort of true love in its purest form. 

Damn those were some great pain killers. 

Anyway, the one thing I couldn't do while my chin was healing was shave my beard, at least not around my chin. To hell with, I always wanted to grow a beard but never had the courage to let it grow out. Now I had no choice. 

Sometimes that's what it takes to kick my ass into gear: having no choice. 

Lo, it came to pass that I grew a beard. Around the same time, I also changed out my glasses, moving beyond the plastic frames that rested upon my nose for so many years and got myself a pair of wire rims. 

Afterwards I went home for a visit, expecting some kind of reaction from my parents. My mom was the first to greet me when I got home. We chatted a bit without her saying a word about my altered appearance. It fell to me to break that particular ice cube and I said, "So, do you notice anything different about me?" 

She looked at me intensely, then exclaimed, "You got new glasses!" 

Well, God bless her for picking up that detail. But while she noticed the new glasses on my face, she did not pick up on the change in my actual face. 

Later my dad came in and remarked, "Did you run out of razors in college?" I explained the injury I had incurred which led me to let my beard grow.  "I kind of like it," I said. 

"Wait!" my mom interjected. "You have a beard!" 

Sigh. That's my mom. To be fair, while my dad noticed the beard, he did not pick up on the new glasses. With that kind of attention to detail, I'm surprised I didn't get away with more stuff as a kid. 

I've had a beard ever since with two notable exceptions. One time I got a little overzealous trimming my beard one Sunday morning so what the hell, I just shaved the whole thing off. No one noticed. 

Later I was in this performance thing where I was Abe Lincoln. Lincoln had a beard but he did not have a mustache. Afterward the thing was done, I shaved my whole beard so it and the mustache would come back in evenly.   

Back in the history of America, Abraham Lincoln and other political leaders wore beards. But it's not been so common in the last 100 years or so. There's this idea that a person with a beard on his chin has something to hide. Well, I have something to idea. I don't have much of a chin.  

But on a more philosophical level, is a person with a beard inherently more or less trustworthy? It does seem that a lot of serial killers, mass murderers, bombers, psychopaths and other assorted maladjusted people have beards. 

On the other hand, consider as we are deep in the middle of the Christmas season, there's the iconic image of Santa Claus with his snow white beard. Beloved and trusted, yep, that's Santa. 

Although consider he is a bit of stalker, breaking in to homes on Christmas night, watching when you're sleeping, checking up on whether you've been bad or good. You know, Santa may not be the best example of a trustworthy person with a beard. 

Which brings us back around to Paul Ryan. Given that there was so many cookie cutter white guys in black suits on Capitol Hill, maybe the beard helps Ryan stand out. "Yeah, American public, you may not trust Congress but fuck that. I am a man a part. I'm not those whiny little brats in grown up clothes. You can trust me, I have a beard." 

That's all I have on this hair-raising installment of I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You. I'm Dave-El and remember to be good to one another.  

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