One of the worst things about the job hunt is relearning my impression management skills. Whereas at Cryptogramophone I could come in wearing a pair of hole-filled jeans and a negligee, stinking of gin and tobacco and nobody would bat an eyelash (in fact, oftentimes I was encouraged), now the prospect of a potential employer rejecting me because he doesn't like my slovenly appearance is all too possible. So with heavy heart, I decided today that I had to get a hair cut and trim my beard. Besides, it was about time. My beard was so big and unruly that it became its own organism, and I had to feed it bread crumbs and stray droplets of soup just to keep it from invading the rest of my face. Luckily this policy of appeasement worked a lot better with General Beard than it did with Hitler.
This is really the first time I've ever felt totally comfortable with my facial hair. I had a bushy goatee back in ninth grade, and looking back at pictures from that era I can recognize that I looked ridiculous, like I rubbed my chin in glue and rolled around in the dirt. But I guess now I have the requisite seriousness of spirit and angularity of facial features to pull off a beard. There's a certain dignity that I think the beard granted me that would have just been silly had I grown it in my teenage years. And my favorite thing was that I went to the High on Fire and Vetiver/Espers concerts and felt like I fit in, if only visually. To make a long story short, I already miss my beard. As a pre-emptive memorial, I took a picture of it right before I went off to get my haircut/beard trim:
Maybe nothing could stop me from my appointed task, but it sure seemed like there were forces at work ensuring that my trip to Fantastic Sam's was as unpleasant as possible. I decided to make it into a half-hour bike ride, but about halfway through, my right pedal fell off. No warning at all. It looks like the threaded grooves that keep the pedal attached to the spinner just sort of eroded. As you can imagine a bike without pedals is pretty useless unless your journey is entirely downhill, which this one definitely wasn't. What this means is that after my stylist Aline Nazarian was through shearing me like a New Zealand sheep, my frend Catherine had to come rescue me and my skinny, decomposing jalopy and take us home. Waiting out in the cold for Catherine, newly shorn and wearing shorts, I felt completely naked. I already regretted forgoing the comfort and warmth that those craggy hairs afforded me. You can probably sense the sadness and remorse in this picture I took not an hour and a half after deforestation:
This won't be the last of my facial hair. I've yet to experiment with mutton chops, the handlebar moustache and the Hitler patch (or "Chaplin Patch," for those of you who don't like Hitler). But this is not the time to look to the future. It is the time to mourn for the loss of my beloved beard. May its memory be a blessing.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF ETAN'S BEARD: c. NOVEMBER, 2005 - JANUARY 26, 2006