Admiral David Dixon Porter
Watching the American League Championship Series, it is tough to get past all the facial hair. My wife says it reminds her of watching a Civil War movie.
She doesn’t understand.
Beards are a man’s way of bonding with other males, without getting too close. It is the body hair equivalent of chest bumping. It hails back to caveman days, I think, when the amount of fur on your face indicated where you sat on the evolutionary scale. Lots of hair: Mammoth hunter. Not much hair: Liberace. You tell me which one you would rather be.
Major League Baseball has embraced the playoff beard phenomenon by creating an interactive web page. You get to blend your photo with the beard of a famous playoff baseball player. Today’s was Mike Napoli’s beard, affectionately known as “The Siesta.” I gave it a shot, then added a little gray to make it more indicative of my senior status. It came out looking like this:
It looks better on him.
Back a few decades ago, in an attempt to be cool, the Navy allowed Sailors to wear beards again. The official explanation given by the Navy for discontinuing the practice again (in 1984) was to allow a better seal for gas masks, and for good order and discipline. But we all knew the real reason was because they looked dorky. Not dorky on everyone, mind you, but on enough Sailors that it was getting downright embarrassing. I happened to be one of those. Here is a picture of me in a full beard.
Those who couldn’t grow full beards had a tendency to continue trying long after it became obvious that it would never happen. They can be classified in the broad category of pirates, because that is what they looked like. They nurtured the few, sad follicles on their chins and walked about the ship with a swagger that belied the tragic reality that everyone but them could see.
As for me, I recognized the truth early on and began shaving again. That was a long time ago, and I have maintained a smooth face ever since. I discovered that I can still bond, that I am confident in my appearance, and that I know who I am.
I am Liberace.