Monday, January 13, 2014

Beardo's hit... I'm going in after him.

I made a decision that when I finally sat down to write a post, it would mention neither the new year, nor the epic tome I penned on Biketumor.
Here's to failing at both of those things in the first sentence.

So instead, let's talk about my "beard."

It's terrible.

And I mean fucking terrible.

Which is what I was screeching when I drunkenly entered the "corporate beard" category at the Beard And Mustache Competition once upon a time.

"Oh yeah?! Well you should see my other beard!"
I blame Barnyard for that particular night. Why and how, I don't know... but I do.
I'm not sure what is happening in this picture....
 but you should see the one that didn't make it to Flickr.

As I mentioned before... the chances of me ever winning any kind of beard competition outside of "best beard made of pubic hair glued to the face" are slim. But I found myself inebriated, egged on, entered....
....and  subsequently shirtless on a stage, yelling at everyone and throwing double birds.
(In case you're wondering, I came in dead last. I can see that you're shocked.)

Despite my inability to grow a beard worthy of anything but DFL, every so often I try anyway.
True.... most often it makes it's appearance during "the dark times."
I call it "not giving a fuck." Doctors call it "morbid depression."
Whatever.
This go round is actually the twisted offspring of only a modicum of the darkness, coupled with the ever alluring SLOTH....both of whom invited HOPE into their beds. We still don't know who the father is.

I'm not sure why I beat my head against the wall on the beard front. My facial hair follicles will not magically rewrite their genetic code one day. Except for the ones on my back, who seem bound and determined to reinvent themselves.
As much as I wish, I'll never be Brian Blessed
No one will. You can't match this. 
And yet.... here I am.... a month of growth on my face.... cheeks still visible through the curls.

It's pretty bad.

Now... the real danger in the bad beard quickly becomes the inability to see reality through your wishful thinking.
Case in point.... for more years than I care to admit, I thought that this was a good look for me.


You just know that someone tried to tell the man in the above image (let's call him Jeb) how much better looking he would be if he would just shave. They certainly told me. And like me, you know that Jeb was absolutely deaf to their admonitions. Whether he thought it accentuated his jawline or hid his weak chin... his grasp on reality was slipping to the great beyond.
"Say what thou will... this is a look that totes suits me."
Upon the final development of this daguereotype, I imagine Jeb let loose a stream of shrill profanity that would have shocked the delicate sensibilities of his time.
It's all too often that one photograph that pulls the veil aside and makes us realize that a madness has subtly and slowly descended, it's slow creep masked by daily familiarity with our visage.
So you can understand and excuse poor Jeb. While he may have groomed daily in a mirror, his transformation had occurred slowly rather than suddenly, and he was blithely unaware of its horror.

Like Jeb, my transformation was slow and subtle... "sideburns" (if they could be termed as such) slowly moving toward each other like drifting continents... geologic time hiding the magnitude of the impending collision.
Looking semi-normal slowly morphed into "are you in a cult?"
But unlike Jeb, I had more than enough photographic evidence of not only how ugly I was, but how much uglier I was making myself with my mockery of a beard.
Imagine if Henry Rollins and Nick Cave had a child that was an Amish ferret-gorilla.
That's pretty much the look I inadvertently nailed.

Speaking of neck-beards, here's another one of note.


Though like our Jebediah, his beard transgressions can be excused partly due to his place in the temporal stream.
Also.....he was, quite unlike me, an amazing writer who, incidentally, we would all do well to rediscover.

More and more I find myself convinced that our intellectual development, as well as the time line it adheres to is.... kind of.... well... fucked.

We read Thoreau in highschool, at a time when we are barely able to see anything outside of the filter of our raging hormones and burgeoning vanity. But even then, our hungry minds were able to recognize something marvelous in those words.... and for a week or so we fancied ourselves transcendentalists. At least until we read Kerouac and decided we were actually beats. Until we read Sartre and decided we were existentialists... "the void" filtering through the panties we were obsessed with trying to get into.
But ultimately, regardless of the knowledge we soaked up, the genius of whatever we read was always lost in the one question that was first and foremost in our teenage minds:
"I wonder what marvels await beneath that field-hockey skirt."

And then... we graduated. And either our academic education ended there, or it became so specialized that we no longer had time for superfluous literary pursuits. Our extracurricular reading became almost exclusively easily digestible fiction, the intellectual nature of which continues to rapidly dwindle to the point where Dickens' amazing and florid language becomes almost unreadable... and the only reading that is palatable is the poorly thought-out and poorly executed one-page ramble on some nobody's blog. (That would be me. Why are you reading this you fools!?)
The days of sitting down to the dense and challenging prose of Dostoyevsky are over. Now it's Dicky.
(Who proves just as challenging.... but in very different ways.)


Speaking of Dostoyevsky....
..... his beard, while scoring points on length, seems to have a translucent quality to it.
I wonder if anyone ever tried to talk to him about it.
It's funny.... because we can be so dismissive of all the amazing things we read early on... as if being grown-ass men and women, those books somehow represent ideas that are no longer relevant, or are somehow representative of thinking more rooted in a less-intelligent time of our lives.
But you know....
I don't give a shit if Schopenhauer and Nietzsche DO represent the thinking of a world past and gone.... it's what we should probably be reading NOW. And if its flawed, then find your counterpoints and challenge it.... don't flee to the hackneyed affirmations of Eat Pray Love.

I recently tried to reread Critique of Pure Reason and my shattered attention span couldn't make it through two pages without screaming and losing it's tenuous grip. This forced me into a "two pages forward, one page back" pattern for too many pages to count.... until it finally cried "mercy!" and I relented.... giving it the easily digestible and palate pleasing Discussing Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris.
And not that Sedaris isn't an amazing writer, or that he doesn't elucidate a number of profound truths in a rib-splitting, cringe inducing 10 page story.
But the fact is that Kant's book changed the intellectual landscape of the entire world... and don't nobody have time or patience for that shit anymore.

Boiled down to its essence on a bunson burner in high-school chemistry class.... catching my labcoat on fire as I lose myself in a girl's complex smile and beautiful dimples.... what I'm saying is:

We're getting dumber every day.

Go read Thoreau. Again.

But first... read this:
http://nickidaniels.com/2014/01/06/beardedhipsters/
And then.... read this:
http://monofonuspress.com/how-to-live-like-a-king-for-very-little-by-thor-harris

The resurgence of the beard leaves me frustrated on a number of levels... many of them brought to light in Nicki's open letter.
I think the day a beard appeared in the line-up of Taking Back Sunday, a cloud passed over the sun, and beards everywhere stood up on end. The end was nigh.
It just seems like you should at least be able to operate a power tool or throw a punch or do more than one pull-up if you have one.
But ultimately... my frustration all boils down to my own beard exacerbating the genetic betrayal that is my legacy, because I can do all of those things, but can't grow a beard worth a damn.
Sigh.
But among my many arbitrary resolutions for the new year, (among them riding my bike more, following Charkie into manorexia, and drinking at least two heart healthy bottles of wine a night) I've decided to see where the beard takes me.

As long as it doesn't take me here.
I'll play it day by day.... until someone throat-beard punches some sense into me.






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