I shaved today. All over.
Well, not ALL over. Just all over my head. And face.
It’s been over ten years since my chin has seen sunlight without the protective filtration provided by a beard. That’s a DECADE, kids. Some of you reading this right now didn’t know HOW to read the last time I shaved my face.
I’ve got two photos here for you. The first was taken halfway through the shaving process, and I do mean HALF WAY.
What kind of weirdo shaves his beard half a face at a time? Well, the LAST time I did this (summer of 1994) I went from full beard to goatee, and from goatee to moustache, and from moustache to clean. Each stage was educational — especially “moustache,” which is the stage in which both Sandra and I agreed I should remain for as little time as was mechanically possible.
So this time we tried it differently, and the result is that you can see just how much area my beard adds to the lower part of my face. You can also see into our shower behind me. Note that I’ve carefully cropped this photo as close to the relevant “me” bits as possible to spare you the sight of mildew and shampoo bottles.
And now, the SECOND half…
I can still put on a wry face, peering imperiously over my glasses at you, but without the chin-weeds it loses some of its effect. I look like a cue-ball. I look very roundheaded. I also bear a startling (and yes, disturbing) resemblance to Jerry “Tycho” Holkins from Penny Arcade. Somebody dig up a convention photo of that and post a link in the comments — you’ll see what I mean.
(Tycho, if you’re reading this: I SWEAR I’m not trying to steal your mojo. See below)
So… what possessed me to clear-cut the face-forest? It’s simple. The folks at the local LDS Temple extended a call to me to serve one day a week in the temple. One aspect of temple worship is the attempt to keep as many distracting and “worldly” influences outside as is humanly possible, and a very vanilla, conservative hairstyle is therefore part of what they ask of their volunteers. Since I deeply desire the blessings concomitant with temple service, and since the beard appeared to be in the way, it had to go.
You can argue with (or for) the wisdom behind that rationale until you’re blue in the face, and all it will get you is blue in the face. They could have asked me to do any number of seemingly silly, trivial, or non-germane things, and in accepting the call to work in the temple I cheerfully would have submitted myself to the silly, the trivial, and/or the non-germane. It’s not about rationalizing things. It’s about having faith that for acting in a certain way, I’ll be more richly blessed than had I chosen an alernate path.
And that’s really what it comes down to. I don’t believe that religion is something you can choose because you already believe and do everything that religion teaches. If you’re shopping for a church that teaches that everything you currently think, say and do is correct, you might as well just stay home. For me, religion exists to CHANGE the behavior of the devout on his/her quest for ultimate truth.
Okay, that got pretty deep pretty quick. Upshot: no matter how putty-headed I may think I look without it, it was just a beard.