One of Bill Cosby’s great comedy routines was about him and his college girlfriend. She was a philosophy major, he was a physical education major. She wandered around asking questions such as “Why is there air?” To which Bill replied “Any phys ed major knows why there is air. There’s air to blow up volleyballs, blow up basketballs!”
I wonder about things. Little things. Things that are not really significant to the whole scheme of life and goings on in this world, but things I nonetheless think about. For example, who invented Throwback Thursday and why? Don’t get me wrong, it is a great little theme to use for posting on Facebook and blogs. I figure that if I just post one photograph for each year of my life, I have more than a year of Throwback Thursday blog posts. But I am curious about its origins.
Today is November 1st. It is the start of something known as “No Shave November”. I prepared myself by shaving at 11:45 PM yesterday. While shaving, the amateur philosopher in me asked this question, “Why is there such a thing as “No Shave November? Who started it? Why am I participating in it? Why am I shaving myself at midnight?”
As a young lad I could not wait to become old enough to shave. My father advised me not to be in too big a hurry to shave because I would soon come to hate the morning ritual of shaving. But eventually nature takes its course and I joined the ranks of every young man and began each morning with a clean, close shave.
The high school dress code made sure that shaving was part of the daily routing. Prescott High School had a “no facial hair” rule. To put this into context, I attended PHS from 1965-1969, which meant that if the administration didn’t want us to have facial hair, all of us guys desperately wanted to have mustaches and beards.
One glorious week out of each year, the school had Spring Spirit week which featured a beard growing contest. No shaving for a week! Most of my friends and I fell into what I would charitably call “the scragglies” and really didn’t expect to win. That honor would always go to the one student who looked like he was straight out of Duck Dynasty after one week of not shaving. I was just happy for the week off.
Based on what I have related so far, one might think that once I hit college, I went into to full ZZ Top mode, but that would be untrue. It was not until my third year of college that I actually grew a full beard. Since that time I have run the gamut from clean shaven to mustache to beard and back to clean shaven. These days I spend the majority of my time clean shaven with a few days off from shaving here and there. Once a month I indulge myself and get a professional face shave, something every man should try once. It’s quite an experience.
Which brings me back to the main topic of No Shave November. Although I willingly participate, No Shave November is not all fun and games for me. No way. First of all, it takes about two weeks before the itching and irritation stop. Secondly, my beard is all white, so it ages my looks at least 20 years. Plus, being a big man with a white beard means I need to be on my best behavior in public. I have noticed little children who start whispering to their moms when they see me, wondering if I am the big man from the North Pole making an early visit. Strange as it may sound, I feel a bit of responsibility to make sure I am representing the Clause in a good way. Finally, it was fairly cute when I first heard this, but like anything that gets overly used, it has lost a lot of charm for me. “Hey, you look just like the dude from Jurassic Park!”
To all my fellow No Shave November participants…have a great month. See you in December.
“WELCOME TO JURASSIC PARK!”