Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ward's Beard

Its hot outside, so I'm avoiding taking apart old bikes by sitting around writing stories. He is one about Ward:

Ward’s beard was such an essential part of our travels, mostly because it was the first time that I had known him to have a beard since we had been friends, and a beard of
such amazing stature. His face and neck had become engulfed by this salt-and-peppered beard hair, immediately making my 36 year old friend look 70. I didn't like the beard, and couldn’t understand how he could stand so much hair in the middle of summer, driving around in the hot bus, but he said it didn't bother him. At one point, outside of our friend Robert’s house in Brooklyn, I have Ward a beard cut, or a “trim job”, in which I removed a good two handfuls of hair, and his appearance did not change at all. You couldn't even tell I had cut any hair; the fuckin' beard did not look and less massive.

The best thing about the beard was how intensely people reacted to it. People (and by people I mean grown-ass-men) LOVED that beard. Our interactions with people were littered with questions about how long he has been growing his beard, while these guys stoked their chins self-consciously, obviously envious of Ward’s accomplishment, as though he did more than just NOT shave for a long time. In Rochester, while walking town the street with two other girls and myself, Ward got catcalled by this dude who was frantically honking his horn. As we turn to look, already annoyed in assuming this guy was going to say something crude to the ladies, he excitedly shouts, “SWEET BEARD!”.
Ward was delighted, and I was not entertained by the encouragement he was receiving to keep his beard any longer.

He finally shaved his beard in October, after about six months, and only because our Halloween costumes for that year required it. We went as the cast of "Windy City Heat", Ward being Mole, myself as Don, Tony as “Scary” Perry, and Erin as Bobcat Golthwait. Erin kept the removed beard hair in a vase, which looked disgusting, but came in handy when an Internet misconnections site had a posting months later offering money for the beard if it was still around (it was a joke posted by a friend of ours). Erin took a photo of the vase, posted it, and it was flagged and removed. What was weird was when Tony made a posting counter offering, titling his post, “Lurkin for a Murkin”, no one complained.

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