This post is mainly directed at the few of you that read this site that actually know me, and will probably bore the shit out of those that don't. For those in the latter group, we probably have much better, funnier posts for you to spend your time reading, so feel free to enjoy those.
For more than six years, I have had a ridiculously long goatee. Not Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart or Dimebag Darrell long, but definitely long enough to be known as "that dude with the inexplicable Brillo patch of hair hanging off his chin." I'm not sure why I grew it in the first place - probably something to do with being too lazy to shave in college - but it soon became part of me, a self-identifier that helped me distinguish (or degrade) myself from the rest of the non-goateed population.
Now, of course, part of me knew it looked really, really dumb. It never grew straight in a ZZ Top-esque fashion, but would rather flail in every direction the longer it got. That said, it was fun as all hell to pull on it when I was deep in thought, or twist it into shapes when I was immensely bored. I'd even occasionally tie it up with elastic bands, and pretend I was Captain Lou Albano. In a related story, I'm easily amused.
While they didn't tell me directly, I could tell that my friends and loved ones hated my goatee. My father would always joke "now if you could only get that thing off your face," and my girlfriend would always plead with me to let her "trim it back, if only so it looks neat and well-kept."My friends would always say "wow dude, that thing looks pretty unruly right now." And those dining with me would be thoroughly embarrassed when I'd walk out of a restaurant with bits of soup, guacamole, barbecue sauce or mayo caught in it. Yet I kept it out of stubbornness, and also because, if I was to cut off something that I'd spent six years growing, I'd need a damn good reason.
Last night gave me that reason. I'd been a HUGE Obama fan ever since his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech. He was my beacon of political hope in a dark sea of stormy Bush-waters. And last night, aside from being ridiculously historic, was the first time I'd felt like my generation actually did something, and made an impact in some way other than getting Family Guy back on the air. Besides, our new President, My new President, was calling for Change, calling for us to take charge of our country and planet and finally stop acting like assholes. To me, the first step in doing so meant to stop looking like an asshole. So I told my girlfriend to get the scissors, and in a single snip, my six-year goatee was gone.
It feels weird, and I've spent my morning constantly feeling my chin, grabbing for something that's not there anymore. But a larger part of me realizes that now's as good a time as any to grow up, to stop clinging to things from the past that were there for no good reason, and to stop walking around with barbecue sauce hanging from my face.
Aw, who the hell am I kidding? I'll probably start growing the thing out and putting elastic bands in it within the next month or so. I mean, who wouldn't want to look like Captain Lou?