There seems to be a hell of a lot of beards around these days?
I suppose it's inevitable. I decide to do something that is non-fashionable and sooner or later people see the light and start following my trend. The story of my life really.
I know exactly when I started growing mine. It was the Spring of '71 and I was incapacitated for a couple of weeks. When life returned to normal I discovered I had a respectable two-week's growth on my chin and I just never bothered shaving it off. So this is really its 44th birthday [Happy Birthday, Beard!]. I have stuck with it [or rather it has stuck on my chin] for all that time and Herself, the daughter and the grandkids have never seen me clean shaven. That could be quite handy actually, as if I ever wanted to disappear I just have to shave and they wouldn't have a fucking clue what I looked like. Mind you, nor would I.
There are even web sites sprouting up these days dedicated to The Beard as if it were some new fantastic new invention. "Hey lads! Look what happens if you stop shaving! Isn't this weird?!" There is one site where it seems to be nothing but photographs of blokes with beards, as if it was some kind of registration thing – if you have facial growth, then register it here. It's a crap site simply because I'm not in it, and I must have one of the most famous beards in Wicklow, if not Ireland.
I also came across WebMD which actually has the nerve to give 12 Easy Beard Care Tips. For fuck's sake, do people have to be given instructions about everything these days? One simple beard care tip – Don't shave. That's all there is to it. It it tickles your fancy then take a pair of scissors to it [because if it does tickle your fancy it is waaaay too long, unless you're a biker]. Keep an eye on it during Spring to make sure birds don't nest in it and comb it occasionally to get rid of all the old food. That is really all there is to it. No need for a fucking manual.
I was minding my business the other day when the groceries were delivered. There was a polite knock on the back door and there was the new delivery bloke [I think the previous one is still in hospital] standing there grinning at me. I will be honest and say that I got quite a shock. It looked like the poor chap had been in an incredibly nasty accident and that the surgeons had sewed his head back on upside down. The top of his head was completely bald but he had a sort of beard that seriously looked like he had strung a marmalade cat between his ears. All the hairs stuck out at right angles to the skin so it looked like a bright red upside down Afro-style head of hair. It was quite fascinating in a very strange sort of way.
The whole business is a bit annoying actually. If ever I was arranging a meeting with someone for the first time, I'd just tell 'em to look for the beardy bloke. Now I have to qualify that by saying the beardy bloke with a pipe.
I suppose everyone will start smoking pipes now?