Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bearditude, a list of influential beards

I have had a beard for longer than our girls have been alive (they are ten and seven). A good many of our friends haven't known me without one. And my wife digs it (so why change?). But self-reflection can be a worthwhile venture and I have certainly been influenced by famous beards, past and present.

So who are those role model beards out there? Let's take a look.

1. Plato. You are talking to an English/Philosophy graduate who just about had his bags packed to go to philosophy graduate school at Duquesne University en route to teaching college philosophy. But the existential jones goes back further, as long as I can recall. A way of being wired. And I still remember being lost in thought and excited like Christmas when we were going to discuss Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" in class.

2. Santa Claus. Alright, let's be honest. Religion aside, most American kids see Santa as the most recognizable beard. White-bearded dude, lives in the snow, flying reindeer, all the toys in the world. All the beard qualifications necessary.

3. Jesus Christ. While we're on the subject of Christmas... I was baptized and grew up in the Episcopal church. Water into wine, working miracles. Dr. J has to go on any beard list.

4. Chuck Norris. If you grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, you've seen Chuck Norris kick ass. You've been simultaneously scared and awed by his beard. And why did Chuck lose to Bruce Lee in "Way of the Dragon" in one of the most epic martial arts screen battles ever? No beard.

5. Abe Lincoln. He is more than just a Racing President for the Washington Nationals. He's the first iconic U.S. President I can remember, even before George Washington. And a role model for unkempt skinny cerebral kids growing up anywhere.

6. Walt Whitman. Please remember the second half of the above English/Philosophy value meal. I've written poetry since I sat in the back of Mr. Springer's world history class, a 14-year-old skate punk who scribbled in notebook margins rather than pay attention in class. Hemingway and Whitman are a toss-up for bearded writers, but I have to go with Whitman on a personal preference. Just being earnest.

7. ZZ Top. Did you see the video for "Sharp Dressed Man," as a young man? Did you own ZZ Top "Eliminator?" Have you heard "La Grange?" The greatest rock and roll beards of all time. And we live in a rock and roll world.

8. Jayson Werth. If you live in our house, chances are your favorite beard belongs to the Washington Nationals Jayson Werth. Our girls ask how he is doing every time the Nats are on (which is almost every game), they love seeing him in the dugout during home games, and none of us can wait for his return to the lineup. If you want to talk famous beards, Jayson Werth's Beard even has its own Twitter account.

There's my list of influential beards. Those beards that come to mind when talking famous facial hair. Feel free to add your own.

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