Archive for the 'Beard growth' Category

Shaving grace

October 22, 2010

Andrew Hicks

In the immediate aftermath of Ankle Break 2010, while I was under heavy, medically supervised sedation at the hospital, I decided to grow a beard. A friend compared it to an NHL athlete’s playoff beard, but I thought of it more as a strike beard.

I identified with Conan and Letterman, who returned to work with faces unshaved to show solidarity while their writers were on strike. These late-night hosts knew they’d be good in the long run, but a major element of their success was fundamentally missing. For them, it was the word-crafters. For me, it was the ability to walk and work.

The wildly growing hair on my face — an unruly swatch-melange of black, brown, red and gray — was there to state boldly, “This is the amount of time it’s been since I was normal.”

The beard came off last Saturday, in a mundane moment of anticlimax. I decided it was time to look semi-presentable again, and I was tired of my new, annoying habit of pinching and tugging at the tuft of beard right under my ear, where jaw meets neck. I found myself executing the pinch-and-tug move several times per minute. Inexplicably, I’d start to move at double speed whenever Nancy Grace* showed up on the TV.

I never got a picture of my bearded self, and I wish I would have. The odds of me going all wooly bully again are zero unless an Asian prison sentence is involved. Which would be all-around bad for more reasons far more profound than loss of shaving privileges. Note to self: No more felonies in The Phillipines or misdemeanors in Malaysia.

(Also, no more arson in Ankara, assault in Armenia, battery in Bahrain, blackmail in Bhutan, burglary in Bangladesh, embezzlement in India, extortion in Iran, jaywalking in Jakarta, kidnapping in Kazahkstan, larceny in Laos, manslaughter in Myanmar, mayhem in Mongolia, murder in Moscow, perjury in Pyongyang, robbery in Riyadh or vehicular homicide in Vietnam**. I don’t know what I’m going to do for fun anymore. I guess shave. Lots of shaving.)

In a half-assed marriage of odd and tacky, I took my battery-powered trimmer outside with me and did most of the heavy face-hair removal there. Instead of a bathroom sink and floor full of beard particles of varying length, the wind blew it out into the grass, like the personal grooming equivalent of scattering urn-ash.In a matter of minutes, I went from being enshrouded in facial tresses to being completely cleanshaven. It was the first time I was sans goatee since I was Meat Loaf for Halloween in 2006***.

Baby Sarah was confused for a minute, like she had a new big brother. Tiffany, my wife, was seeing me without any form of facial hair for the first time. She basically said what everyone else tells me when I shave off my goatee: You’d better grow that thing back ASAP.

Tiffany was nicer about it than everyone who’s not in love with me has ever been. She marveled over how young and innocent I looked. And she said I could groom myself however I wanted to and she’d still think I was hot. But there was noticeable, instant relief when I told her the facial hair would be coming back. What can I say? I’ve got a freaky chin. And this beautiful grown adult woman likes me better when I don’t look like I’m 12.

*Several years ago, I was involved in a tawdry, one-way Love To Hate relationship with Ms. Grace. I haven’t gotten around to seeing Nancy’s new daytime courtroom show, but I imagine she got the idea from watching Judge Judy and thinking, That woman is way too nice and not nearly condescending enough to her plaintiffs and defendants.

**Hopefully, I cannot be prosecuted for run-on sentences in Russia or killing a joke beyond recognition in the Koreas. I think I’m done now.

***Pretty much all my notable Halloween costumes have required the full shave: Meat Loaf, Elwood Blues, Mama Cass (complete with partially eaten ham sandwich), Sam Kinison, Miss Cleo and this year’s upcoming persona, Big Old Justin Bieber.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Baby Silas and his beautiful mommy.

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Bearded wet-cast blues

September 28, 2010

Andrew Hicks

Life with crutches isn’t just about the mobility. Equally limiting is the fact that you can’t really transport anything from points A to B. I made my way out to my mom’s deck just now with notepad tucked into my waistband, pencil (#2, I assume) in my right pocket, can of soda in left pocket, sunglasses hanging from the neck of my T-shirt and keys in my teeth. I wanted to bring the baby, but he’s just too darn big to fit in any of my pockets or tuck-away spots.

Tiffany drove down on Saturday, and for the first time all week, both babies and both parents were under the same roof. I’d gotten to see Sarah a couple times earlier in the week, but I still really missed my little girl. When a kid’s that age, right around two, you can’t be away too long, lest you miss a major developmental milestone. I feel for those dads who are shipped out by the military or constantly travel for their jobs. They leave in the “mama/dada” phase then come back and the kid’s conjugating verbs*.

I also got in some much-needed quality time with Mrs. Hicks. We made a great weekend night out of a few warm camo-chic cans of Busch (it was What Was Around, alright?) and the season premiere of “Saturday Night Live.” We have one imperative TV ritual, Tiffany and I, and it’s watching new episodes of SNL live with a drink or two. This will continue far into the future, no matter how bad the show gets. Loyalty to Lorne Michaels & Co. is in our blood.

The late Phil Hartman may actually have been the catalyst for our falling in love. The night I met her, Tiffany and I were laughing about Hartman’s Ed McMahon character, and I was like, “You should come over to my place. We can watch my Best of Phil Hartman DVD.” And she was like, “No, I have to get up early.” And I was like, “Come on, I just want to show you a couple funny things. We’re just friends hanging out.” And she was like, “Okay, but if you hurt me, I’ll kill you.” 3 1/2 years and two live births later, she still hasn’t killed me. I never thought that “friends hanging out” line would pay off. All thanks to Phil Hartman, whose wife did kill him. Which, all these years later, still really sucks.

Quick note – if you ever find yourself with a cast on your leg, feeling filthy because you can’t take a proper shower every day, taping a garbage bag over your cast is not (repeat, NOT!) a foolproof option. If even a small amount of water permeates your cast, the damp, cold, stuck-to-skin feeling lasts way longer than any sensation of cleanliness you’ll receive from said shower**. And that musty, soggy cast smell is way worse.

If you saw me at this leg*** of my recovery, you would likely reach the conclusion that I just don’t care about personal appearance. All I packed for this trip was like five old T-shirts I usually sleep in, two pairs of shorts and one pair of athletic pants. (Athletic! Ha!) I thought I’d be hiding out at my mom’s for a few days. Now it looks like I might be here for up to three weeks. Whoops.

Also, I haven’t shaved since the ankle break. The first few days, it was because I was doped up in the hospital. Then it became a conscious decision. I would use beard growth to mark the length of time since I had a “normal” existence. That beard’s pretty full-on now, and I have a whole list of reasons to defend it:

  • I’ve always hated shaving. It’s the most tedious four minutes of my day. Eight minutes if I also have to shave my legs and pits.
  • My dad and brother sport full beards, so it must have a genetic predetermination sort of component.
  • When else in my life will I be able to experiment with excess facial hair without worrying about loss of employment?
  • The crutches send a pretty strong You Should Stay Outta This Guy’s Way message. The beard really hammers it home.
  • Joaquin Phoenix. Nuff said.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Legos

Sarah plays with Legos

* = “I got game, you got game, he/she/it got game, we got game, they got game.” P.E. in full effect right now until the year 2000!

** = Yes, I said “said shower.” My word choice often leans toward that of an ubergoober^.

*** = I will neither confirm nor deny the intendedness of that pun.

^ = All people who say “ubergoober” want to think they invented the term. Well, you guys didn’t, and neither did I. Who actually did? No doubt, a majorextremeprofoundubergoober.