MY BEARD
Michael Ellis

As teenager and young man I always looked much younger than I was. As a sophomore in college riding my bike to class I stopped for a breather in front of the local Junior High. The principal soon came out and asked me why I wasn’t in school. I irately replied that my Philosophy of Religion class had been canceled. So I came up with a great long range plan. As soon as I could (I was a late bloomer) I would grow a beard to make myself look older and then when I got much older I would shave it off and then look a bit younger.

Well after 23 years of having a beard I recently decided to shave it off. Now I knew I could not handle seeing my new face all at once, so last fall I shaved off just my cheeks and then had a goatee and moustache, which seems to be the latest style anyway. But honestly I really didn’t look that different. Now I don’t think you women can really appreciate having a beard. Just imagine not seeing a significant part of your face for most of your adult life. Now I know that you can get your hair cut or styled in a new and radical way but it really isn’t the same. I had my son watch the final transformation. I needed a witness and didn’t want to scare him later. I first cut off the goatee. Hurray! I did have a chin and only one, thank god. Hunter yelled “Dad, you have a dimple!” Well whatta you know. But I still didn’t look that different. Other men had told me that the real change was in the moustache. So off it went. And then I saw it, my upper lip. Who was that guy looking out of the mirror? That lip was so thin. I suddenly saw two lines that had been covered with hair. My God those are my fathers lines, the ones that framed his mouth, reflected back to me. The next morning my son said I was beginning to look like his dad and that he liked my face. It took me several days to get used to the person in mirror. No one in California had ever seen me without a beard, but the evidence is clear from comments that my long range has plan worked. “You’ve lost at least ten years.” “Let me see your ID sir.” Now I guess I could do something about all this gray hair but I think I’ll leave that option open for later.

This is Michael Ellis with a Perspective.

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November 5, 2010