The versatile beard: baby toy, jowl hider, and more

by Ken Carpenter



Beards can be many things to many people. Some may be driven wild by the itch of them while others can become mad from the itch of a sweaty bald face. 

They can be dignified or repulsive, depending on if any pets are living in them. A bearded woman pretty much has her future mapped out for her, next to the Amazing Lizard Faced Boy. 

            There are a bunch of reasons a man might choose to wear a beard. They are dandy for covering up double chins, which don’t much like to be shaved anyway. Not that I would know, or admit it if I did. 

Jowls in the early stages can be masked also, but if allowed to grow they will eventually drive the beard into submission, giving it a mossy appearance. 

I grew my beard many years ago because I am just possibly the world’s worst shaver, and I prefer my hamburger to be in a bun, not in my mirror.

            Babies and puppies love beards, and will use them as chewing and yanking toys if given the opportunity. Many times my sons would get a death grip on my whiskers and howl with glee as they jerked my face to and fro, enjoying it all the more when the tears poured from my eyes. 

I soon learned to keep it trimmed, and they soon learned to get a good bite on it, the better to pull it out by the roots. I was supremely happy when they turned their destructive talents to choking GI Joes.

            The Egyptians, ho hum, were the first guys to shave, as early as 3000 BC. I’m sure that was great sport. Shick was not up to par in the old days. 

After they invented shaving, the kings and queens inexplicably started wearing fake beards if they really wanted to look regal. It is not known if a large nose and glasses were attached.

            The popularity of beards bounced up and down through the ages until, in the years following the war of 1812, the true martyr of all bearded fellows made his stand. 

In those days beards were not worn in the Eastern U.S., not by anyone but one Joseph Palmer. His long, flowing beard inspired children to ridicule him, women to go around the block to avoid him, and men to pitch rocks through his windows. Obviously there was not much to do in those days.

            Four men jumped him one day and attempted to whack off his beard. This did not set well with the normally gentle man, so he gave them a good thumping. 

Soon after this he was arrested for assault, and he spent over a year in jail because he refused to shave his beard and nobody else was able to do so. He came from bullheaded stock, it might be said.

            Eventually his jailers begged him to go home, and he refused. One day they picked him up in his chair and carried him and his beard into the street, washing their hands of him. 

Not long after that he started up an asylum for the lost and other men with beards. He died in 1875 and his gravestone says; “Persecuted for wearing the beard”.  I assume he died content, and I am sure his treasured beard did.

            Beards now seem to be accepted in all walks of life, though it is not that uncommon to find those who seem a tad suspicious of men of the bearded persuasion. 

We really aren’t trying to hide anything in there, and contrary to popular opinion we don’t use it to pack around snacks for later. 

Most of us, anyway.