Thursday, April 12, 2007

On Beards

Let us, you and I, speak about beards, shall we?


Everyone has a running joke; that is, one which they like to come to again and again as the years pass. It doesn't have to be a specific joke, per se, but rather a general idea in which they find humor.

My strongest and most stable running joke, by far, is that of beards.

I'm not sure why. Beards and I are intrinsically related, insofar as we have a antagonistifriendly relationship. Now I know what you're thinking: "Antagonistifriendly? What the hell is he talking about?" Well, let me educate you with the following facets of my relationships to beards.

1. "My own 'beard'": Let me make this perfectly clear (for some reason, I made an ironic typo in which I said "let me make this perfectly beard"): I don't have a beard. I always get annoyed when people say, "Oh, I like your beard," or "Oh, I don't like your beard," or "Oh, how long are you going to grow your beard?" When they say this, my left eye squints, my right eye twitches, and I turn to them with what can only be described as a scowl. "Beard?" say I, "I have no beard! And don't you ever call it that again!"

You see, I have a goatee, not a beard. Think of it as a logic problem from the SATs:
All beards are facial hair. Andrew has facial hair. Andrew has a beard.
Not true, my friend. A good rule of thumb is as follows: if the facial hair on the chin connects to the sideburns, it's a beard. Otherwise, it's some other varient of facial hair. Please refer to this style guide from the early 1900s for more information. As you can see, my variety of facial hair falls best under the category of "Petit Goatee".

So please, do not call my goatee a beard. Thank you.

2. "A Mighty Beard": So that's the extent of the antagonistic part of my antagonistifriendly relationship with the beard. However, there are many things about beards (beards on others, mind you) that I find quite amusing. For example, out of the blue one day, I thought of the phrase "a mighty beard." I'm not sure where it came from, but it's stuck with me ever since, and it always tickles me pink when I think of it. I'm giggling right now, in fact. I can just imagine a couple of grizzled sea captain-like characters talking to each other.
Sea Captain 1: "Arr, Ishmael, look at that bearded lad over there."
Sea Captain 2: "Aye, 'tis a mighty beard."

This is especially funny when I actually do see someone with a mighty beard on campus. Usually these people just turn out to be eccentric, homeless, or some combination of the two, but I still say to myself, "'Tis a mighty beard," and smile.

3. "The Beard Bribe": One of my co-workers at CKC was also my RA last year, and he's one of my closest friends at Cal. His name is Carlos, and he's well known for being a snappy dresser and overall handsome fellow. Here's a picture of him for reference (he's the one in the picture that's neither female nor me). Now, Carlos has a very youthful appearance, but he sometimes goes for many days without shaving. Hence, he occasionally has a bit of a stubble, which begs the question, "What would Carlos be like with a beard?"

Now, Carlos also wants a Nintendo Wii. However, he doesn't really want to shell out the money for one. He was going to get one for his birthday, but his family couldn't find one anywhere (a side effect of its popularity).

This is where I come in. Being the devil incarnate, I made Carlos an offer while simultaneously feeling my teeth sharpen. "Carlosssss," I hissed, "If you were to grow out your beard and keep it until your graduation, I'd happily purchasssse a Nintendo Wii for you." (Keep in mind, I made this offer to him at the beginning of the semester, so he'd have to keep it for months.)

"No," he cried, "That will make me look so old."

"Think about it, my friend. You want to be a teacher. Without the beard, you'll ssssimply be 'Carlossss'. With the beard, however, you'll be 'Misssster Lua'. And you'll have a Wii to boot."

Unfortunately, he didn't bite. I was actually willing to go through with the deal, but his heart wasn't in it, I suppose. Still, I found it funny when I was "comic-izing" a bunch of pictures (something I'll cover in more depth later), and the tricks of light and shadow in a picture of him gave him a kind of goatee. 'Ave a look. Don't worry, he'll cave...someday.

4. "The Bearded Party" : I tend to have a preoccupation with creating unorthodox political parties. I was thinking about creating my own ASUC party called the "Eclipse Party" in which our platform is "Fear, Darkness, and the Wailing of Children" (unlike Student Action, we wouldn't hide our true political intentions.) But as far as the US government, I've always thought the best idea would be the Bearded Party. The Bearded Party is, basically, a political party for people who have facial hair, or wish to have it (to include the ladies). It would be sponsored by the political action committee called the "United Citizens Advancing Bearded People Into Politics, As Well As Mustached People, Though Not As Much As Bearded," or UCABPIPAWAMPTNAMAB (pronounced "Oo-cab-pip-ah-wahmpt-nam-ab").

Here's an sample of one of the Bearded Party's speeches: "Did you know that the last President to have a beard was in 1893, with the last mustached President being in 1913. In fact, the last major candidate to have facial hair was Thomas Dewey in 1948! This is discrimination! This is an outrage! Why, some of our greatest Presidents have had beards! Abraham Lincoln, for one.......yeah!"

The goals of the Bearded Party are simple to the point of frightening: create pro-beard policies and revise history. Yes, revise history. For example, every beardless president will be given a full (if not mighty) beard in all their pictures, and every single battle of the Civil War will be renamed "The Battle of Bearded Hill." The list goes on and on.

However, if we were to ever let a member of the Bearded Party ever make it into the Oval Office, it would all be downhill from there. Which brings us to the grim final piece.

5. "Obey the Beard": I have the vision that if we have a dystopian future, we will not be ruled by aliens or by robots. No, in the future, we will all be ruled by a beard. Not by a man with a beard, mind you, but an individual, sentient beard. In this grim future, all with beards are elevated to a seat of power, while the beardless are punished. I'm in the process of making a series of pics/sounds (similar to that Photoshop contest one) that show this future.

Here's the first: "The Four Rules of Beard" - This is basically pro-beard propaganda, telling you to live, love, honor, and obey the Beard, all while listening to some people talk about the virtues of the beard (the voices, incidentally, are from a fairly bearded episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation).

Here's the second: "The Future Home of the Beardless" - This shows a prison cell where a beardless person goes, with some lovely propaganda posters on the wall ("Do not defy your bearded superiors"). The shakiness of the person is a visualization of their going insane. (Oh, the pictures are from "V for Vendetta" and the sound from "Eternal Darkness," in case you were wondering.)

While, as a middle-class white male, I usually don't find the prospect of dystopian futures disturbing, this one definitely doesn't seem pleasant, even with my ample chin tuft.

Okay, I'll stop there. I think you have a pretty good idea of my relationship with beards, and the kinds of things my running joke entails. It's a pretty fun topic, and I've never fully understood why. But, in case you're wondering, I don't plan on ever, EVER growing a full beard. So don't ask.

Have a bearded day!


ASHLEY said...

upon a recent reading of the kalevala i came to a passage discussing the lamentation of the hero, which it explicitly described as "the weeping of a bearded man." a description i found highly amusing.

Anonymous said...

I am throughly amazed and yet terrorfied...I guess if the bearded dystopia ever comes to existance, I better grow a!

-Comrade Chavez