Last night, I buckled down and finally trimmed my beard. I had let the growth get a little bit out of hand. Typically, once I begin to find twigs, pebbles or pieces of food from meals a week past, etc. hidden within the beard I know it's time to trim again. This time, I let it grow a little bit longer than normal and as a result I found a family of squirrels nesting under my chin. They were very pleasant and well mannered squirrels and I considered allowing them to stay but ultimately I decided I needed to evict them on principle. I am not a tree.
The beauty of having a beard (apart from having facial hair to stroke so that you can look like you're thinking about something important) is that you do not have to shave. This allows me to knock a good five minutes a day or so off of my daily routine. I do not use this extra five minutes to maximize my productivity. I use it to hit the snooze button on my alarm clock one more time every morning.
Since laziness is the main reason that I keep my beard, I find it difficult to morally justify any beard maintenance whatsoever. I keep a beard so that I don't have to shave; why, then, should I have to trim the beard?
And then I realize that, when you have a big bushy red beard and a wild head of hair as I do, people tend to look at you as if you were homeless. Especially if you have a tendency to dress shabily (as I do). And also if you often smell like whiskey (as I occasionally do). And if you tend to loiter in front of drug stores (as I am wont to do). And if you are constantly asking people for their spare change (as I may or may not do). And if you sometimes wake up in a public park beneath a blanket of free newspapers and have no recollection of how you got there (as I have yet to do - yet).
So, in order to avoid this misunderstanding - I may be a slob but I am certainly not deserving of sympathy or charity from strangers - I must trim my beard occasionally. As I did last night.
But as I was standing in the shower looking down at the clump of discarded red hair at my feet, I thought of the squirrel family I had evicted and wondered where they would sleep that night.
Ah, yes. There is not one solitary action we can take that doesn't effect the world. Point well taken. Right?
I agree with Geoff.
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