In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion reads the paper
People talk to me about my beard everyday. That’s really, really weird.
It’s weird because, unlike others, I can’t even see my beard, so I (apparently) think about it way less than others. It’s weird because this couldn’t possibly be an interesting thing to talk about. (Just imagine if I walked up to people and said, “Ooo, tell me about your eyebrows,” or “Why did you decide to go with a ponytail?”) And it’s weird because they ask all kinds of weird questions.
Below I try to answer questions that I’ve not only been asked, but that I’ve been repeatedly asked.
Q: Why did you decide to grow a beard?
A: It wasn’t elective. Hair grows on my face.
Q: Then why did you decide not to shave?
A: Every morning I get up at 5:30, check the weather report, look across the day’s schedule, and then I make a detailed pros and cons list about whether or not to shave. By 6:30 we start focus grouping. That leaves just enough time for a double regression analysis and to run the data by a counsel of elders. Usually I have my answer just before 8:00.
A: Be serious.
Q: What were you expecting? There is nothing interesting here. My decision not to shave was not some culmination of experience. I also wore a grey shirt today, but somehow you intuitively knew that wasn’t something worth asking me about. Why should the burden of your misplaced curiosities be laid at my feet?
Q: Are you trying to convey something?
A: It’s a bold statement about modern life and the role of man in a post-industrial world.
A: Be serious again.
Q: I haven’t mowed my lawn in two weeks; do you think that’s some kind of statement?
Q: What does your wife think?
A: A lot more than she says out loud, but I think it’s mostly stuff about making the world a better place. She also seems to think a lot about biology. And finances. Sometimes she thinks about politics and sociology. Oh, and she thinks about music a lot, too.
Q: No! I meant what does your wife think about your beard?
A: My wife is way more interesting than you are giving her credit for.
Q: Where did your beard go?
Q: I put it in my 2016 scrapbook. Where do you think my beard went?
Q: Seriously, what happened to your beard?
A: I retracted it. What do you think? I shaved. There is like no other way that anyone has ever gotten rid of a beard but shaving. Of course I shaved.
Q: Why did you decide to shave?
A: It’s an outward manifestation of deep spiritual change.
Q: I knew it! Really?
A: Nah, I’m just as lost and sad and minimally decent as I was before.
Q: Then why’d you really shave?
A: For some reason as mind-numbingly dull as why I’m not wearing that grey shirt anymore.