My Family (a long time ago)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Beards Everywhere

I found out last year that November is now called Movember in some circles. According to their website (http://us.movember.com/about/), Movember is a movement where men grow mustaches in order to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men. Mustaches are OK, I even had one for a while when I was in college, but I always thought beards were better. When I was kid, you could even say that I was obsessed with facial hair, especially beards. I used to draw pictures of a hippie with long hair, dark sunglasses, a peace sign shirt and a full mustache and beard, which I just happen to have a picture of:

Hey, it was the early 1970’s; a lot of people looked like that. This picture is from a 1973 school assignment about what we thought life in 1999 would be like. This was my representation of a “typical” man in 1973. As far as typical goes, I can tell you that my Dad did NOT look like that! My Mom saved the paper for me (by the way, I received an “A” on it), and between the two of us it has been around for almost 40 years.   

I used to think about growing a beard when I got older and actually had some facial hair. That I would have to shave for a while before being able to grow a beard never crossed my mind. In addition to my hippie pictures, I would draw beards on the faces of people in pictures in the newspaper and in magazines. Man or woman, it didn’t matter. Richard Nixon gave a speech? Our paper showed how he would have looked giving the speech with a beard. The Queen of England visited the U.S.? Our Ladies’ Home Journal showed how she would have looked in her hat and pearls with a beard. It’s too bad Mom didn’t save some of those pictures; we could have had a Rogues Gallery of Bearded Famous People. For some reason, I found it amusing to draw beards, mustaches and sunglasses on woman and very clean-cut men. Maybe there’s a psychologist out there who can tell me what that means!

If you think I’m exaggerating about my facial hair obsession, let me give you another example of my artistic talents. The Red Sox were in the 1967 World Series, I was six years old, and I drew a mustache and sunglasses on one player, and a full beard on another. How do I know I did that? I still have the paper:

Bob Gibson with a mustache and sunglasses – how cool is that? Clean-cut Jose Santiago with a full beard? Nice. You see players like that today, but not back in 1967. Maybe Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants got his look from my guy.

You can also ask my sister who is a year older than me about my facial hair obsession. She had a doll called Little Lost Baby, a doll that had three faces that you could rotate; sleeping, happy and sad. One day I got the bright idea (probably motivated by my older brothers!) to draw a beard with black magic marker on one of the faces. I’m not totally sure which face I did it on, but I vaguely recall it being the happy face. After doing my art work I rotated the face so it wasn’t visible and went about my day. Later that day, I heard a scream and a yell for Mom, and I knew she had seen my workmanship. I think Mom tried to wash it off, but it was done with a permanent magic marker and didn’t come off. I’m pretty sure my poor sister needed therapy after that incident! A number of my sister’s Barbie dolls also decided to grow beards and mustaches, but I cannot take credit for most of those. The guilty shall remain nameless. I really do feel bad for her though, having to deal with us knuckleheads for all those years.

I continued to draw mustaches, beards and sunglasses on pictures for a while but, alas, I did not have much artistic ability. I also grew a beard in the winter for a number of years, starting in college, and I did have long hair, too, but not as long as my 1970’s hippie. No, I was never quite that cool. And while I think Movember is a great idea, I’m haunted by the idea that there’s a Little Lost Baby at the bottom of some landfill, still not decomposed and still with a black beard on her small, smiling face.

No comments:

Post a Comment