Friday, July 09, 2004

Call me... Goatee

I first grew a goatee when I was 19 years old. It just seemed like an interesting sort of rebellion against my face. My face had always been a neat and orderly empire, but I was going to rage against the machine and let free range follicles cover my “normal” and clean chin. To be honest, it was a terrible political experiment. Not only did it take me 3 months to gain what I considered to be a “presentable” amount of facial hair growth, but eventually it got to the that point I lost total control. They had a mind of their own and we’re not looking to be kept down by the man.

Did I mention I was unemployed when I started this project? Oh, I was a real winner. I was unemployed, shaved bald, and had a rabid growth of hair streaming from my face. So, when someone finally did decide to take pity on me and let me work for them, I said a fond farewell to the goatee, took out the scissors, and wept silently as I removed and discarded my little project.

A few years later, I went to my sister-in-law’s wedding and decided that I was sick of shaving, and goatee 2.0 was born. The factions that were created this time had apparently learned from their predecessors and were much more orderly. This time they seemed happy to conform to the laws set forth by the state. Everyone was happy, and before I knew it there was a thriving community all working together for the betterment of my appearance. I knew things were going quite well when my wife gave me a beard and mustache trimmer for Christmas. This one time grass roots campaign had reached the mainstream and everyone was willing to accept it.

So, we’ve lived quite happily together, goatee 2.0 and myself. We were happy to live together and are free to seek a life of religious fulfillment.

Recently I realized that my goatee might be making more of an impression on people than I do and nothing good can come of that.

Last evening I was playing soccer and I heard someone yell out, “Somebody cover GOATEE!” I didn’t know what to think. When someone on the other squad was barking out instructions regarding coverage assignments for other players on our team, they always referred to the number for that player.

“Look out for 16!!!”

“Mark up on 13! He’s a runner!”

For a while I thought that I might be able to sneak by people by covering my goatee with my left hand. But that thought faded quickly.

So, I had to start thinking about the fact that my goatee might be my most defining characteristic. Even more so than anyone else out on the field. There was a guy out there with one arm but no one was calling out, "Watch out for lefty!" Was it the reason that I was becoming a better soccer player? Would I be like Samson, and lose my strength, if I was to remove it again?

I then proceeded to miss my next three shots and pull a Charlie Brown and miss the ball entirely on one attempted kick. They didn’t single me out much after that. Except maybe to point and giggle. Humor is something I’d rather be known for anyway.


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