At the age of 44, I have crossed the lines and become a rebel. I have been growing a beard.
While this does not make me a bomb-throwing Bolshevik, in the matrix in which I am embedded some may view it at best as slightly odd, at worst somewhat suspect. I hadn't set out to grow a beard, it just crept up on me. During this recent spate of snowverkill weather I was so busy during the Blizzard of '10, trying to keep my daughter entertained, my sanity intact and my car from being completely buried under snow and ice. Between all those activities I was "plumb wrung out" as we used to say back in the 'hood.
Typically I would have shaved Sunday night to crop a weekend worth of stubble. I was tired, see. So tired I could barely keep my eyes open if I stopped to sit still for any length of time. By bedtime my arms and back were so sore that I felt no desire to lift them. So no shaving for me.
Then I had my daughter for an extra day (which was nice) which wore me out even further (which was not so nice). So again, no to the shaving. Subsequent to that...there was more snow. I was shoveling again and the office was closed for two days. With only me in the apartment and no agenda, no one to look pretty for, what was the point of shaving? Nyet to the razor, says me! Then the next weekend rolled around, and I typically don't shave anyway, so there was zero reason and incentive to get to it.
Which led me to thinking: was there ever really a reason for me to be shaving every single flippin' day since I graduated from college? Even in college I rarely went more than one or two days* without the razor routine. Truth be known, when I first started growing whiskers way back when...it didn't look good. At all. With a little bit of stubble, I always had this faint feeling I looked like a well-heeled derelict. Plus it seemed some sort of unspoken requirement that I be clean shaven, especially after I joined the working world. So I did it dutifully, day after day, month after month, year after year...
Until now. Now I wonder why I did it all that time. With or without a five o'clock shadow, a soul patch, goatee or full-blown crazy-hermit-down-to-the-waist style beard, whatever...I am the same person. The same person, that is, without the resentment that springs from doing something sort of useful but sort of pointless at the same time, just because other people think you should do it.
Why is this significant? I hear you muttering to yourselves. And I wonder that as well. Perhaps because, at the age of 44, for the first time in my life ever, the beard grows from purpose and not exists due to laziness. That is correct, ladies and gentlemen: I have never grown a Beard. Seems odd for a male my age to have not do so before now.
Now I'm letting it go from curiosity. Honestly, it does not look so bad. Kinda 'friendly roguish', I think. Well, maybe it looks more like those old school G.I. 'Action Figures' like I used to have as a boy, the ones with the perpetual 'fiver' on those chiseled plastic cheeks. Be that as it may, I'll probably let it go through the weekend, see what happens.
I'm a rebel that way. Viva la Beard-olucion!
*There was a 22-day stretch one summer, while home from school, that I let the whiskers grow. But that wasn't from vanity or a feeble attempt at seeming more masculine. I was just a lazy sod with a summer job painting windows and cutting grass.