One of the great joys that I haven't been able to partake in for the last few years is growing a playoff beard. The tradional means for a hockey fan to show his committment to his favorite team. Honestly, it's a stupid tradition, since it has no affect on the outcome of the games. But since when are fans rational?
So with the Lightning returning to the playoffs, I've abandoned the razor and let the hair sprout; much to the disdain of my better half. On more than one occasion she's referred to it as a "homeless man's beard," sighed and shook her head in the way that can only mean, "why am I dating this imbecile?" I'll admit, for six weeks of growth it is a bit patchy, but hey it's the best I can do.
Unfortunately (or fortunately for some), due to a work related opportunity the beard would not see life after game six no matter what the outcome would be. With the Lightning facing elimination, a very, very small part of me was hoping they would lose so that my conscious would be alleviated. Then it wouldn't be my fault if they lost the series. Because as you know, the presence of a beard on a fan 1000 miles away directly sways the outcome of a playoff match between professionals.
For posterity's sake I decided to document the take down of the beard, and to show a couple of fashion choices I was contemplating unleashing on the world.
Bask in its scruffiness. Look at those gray hairs. When did I get old? How has my boss let it go this long without saying anything? Why am I not randomly searched when I get on the train? In my mind it's thick and lustrous, yet not so much when captured on film.
Living in Chicago I'm taken for a chubby hipster more often then I am a hockey fan. I've never lived in a town that embraces the scruffy beard more than the Windy City. Granted most of them are on 110 lb vegans that hang out in coffee shops, but still they're all over the place. As for being called a hockey fan, since the Blackhawks have been eliminated hockey doesn't exist here anymore.
Let's begin the destruction.
New Look 1:
Nice Elvis sideburns and an out of control goatee. My buddy, Saint Leo Mike, once grew the world's most hideous goatee. I think he was making some sort of anti-establishment protest at the uptight company he worked for. Imagine the goatee you see here and multiply it by 100. It was beautiful.
I tried the big sideburns once in my 20's. It lasted about two days. Alas, kids in those days associated more with Brandon from 90210 than they did with Elvis. Damn heathens!
Look, I know goatees went out with the Y2k hoax, but I lack the sharp chin of the classicly good looking. My face gets really round when it's lacking facial hair.
Let's make a slight alteration:
Kept the sideburns and tried to trim the goatee into a Fu Manchu. I didn't quite pull it off and the people I'm meeting with in a day might question my judgment if I rolled up wearing a suit and sporting this facial hair.
Much to the exasperation of my mother I once sported a true Fu Manchu. It the summer after my freshman year in college. I had earned a spot as the closer on my American Legion team and felt that I should adopt a fearsome image. After all, when you can barely break 75 with your fastball you need to get an advantage anyway you can.
At the same time my mom wanted the family to take a portrait together. You know for memory. Please remember this is before digital cameras were affordable and camera phones were as available as hover boards. If I remember correctly, she asked me about 3 or 4 times to shave it off, but I refused. Mainly because I thought it was cool (it wasn't) and because I look even dumber with a regular mustache or completely clean shaven.
She let it go, I'm sure if you ask her she would have grounded me if she could, or smacked the hair off my face if it was socially acceptable to slap you kids. And she would have been right to do so. Frankly, it was a dumb thing to do (especially since I ended up shaving it off three days later). My mom is pretty good at letting me make my own mistakes and not telling me "I told You".
But the photo still remains out there. The smiling, happy family. Not only did I rock the Fu, I also had a Star Wars tie on. No I wasn't dating anyone at the time, why do you ask?
The final product:
Slightly more professional, with much less gray! It even got the girlfriend's stamp of approval. Hopefully, it pays off. Sacrifices I make for my career, sheesh.
For the record the beard was shaved off before Game Six was over, so the Lightning won despite the decimation of my facial follicles. Now on to Game 7!