By Craig Funston
I know it’s now December and “Mo-vember” is history by a couple of days. I meant to write a witty piece on the joys (or sorrows) of having a moustache sooner, but it took too long to groom it for the occasion.
For the men, that would be joy; for women, sorrow.
I cannot recall when I last went hairless between the nose and the lip. (Now between the lip and the crown, that’s a different story.) I think we’re talking in terms of years. In fact, there’s a couple of my kids who have never seen my bare upper lip, stiff or otherwise.
It has taken years to go from chocolate brown to licorice grey; but it can do that in reverse within two bites, thanks to Russ and Rhonda’s special cream-filled doughnuts from their Rolling Pin Bakery: The chocolate brown in question would be the icing from those hot and steaming indulgences.
Just a side note: It strikes me as very unprofessional to teach a serious grammar class with icing splattered on or over one’s face/face fuzz. I have never learned the art of scarfing those things without making a mess. But then, do I really care? A messy face is a throwback to the good old days of pre-school. After all, eighty years ago, everyone thought a food fight ending up on the face was cute.
Moustaches and other forms of face fuzz come in handy for many different occasions. I can think of at least three: 1. they keep one’s face warm in the winter—which is trouble if it’s summertime; 2. they give that certain look of maturity—even if looks are deceiving; and 3. they allow a certain place to hide crumbs for that long, treacherous trip home at the end of a long day.
You are aware of area religious traditions that expect a beard at a certain juncture in life, almost as a rite of passage. I have no problem with that. We wasted English do the same, only our emergence into adulthood is set for when we can drive, vote, or, sad to say, drink. Methinks arriving at the threshold of adulthood could be a lot safer if we went the way of ‘air and not error.
I remember when I could count the numbers of hairs in my (attempted) moustache. I heard it called a “baseball team” moustache—nine aside. (Or would that be no runs, no hits, no hairs?) I don’t know about that, but it was a grand slam day when I could honestly grow a really hairy lip. The beard came a little later, and I’ve played with face fuzz ever since.
And when I say play, I do mean play: Sometimes it has been a full beard (if I wanted to look like a hippie or a logger); other times, it has been very trim, almost polite (if I wanted to look like a professional or an urbanite). I even went to big bushy sideburns route, but I shaved those off just after the Vietnam War.
Two fires ago, we had plenty of photo collages hanging on a wall in the rec room. I cannot recall how many people wondered who Gwynne’s (that would be my wife) first husband was—I had changed my looks (and especially the beard) so drastically. It has gone from brown and bushy to grey and retiring, probably a reflection of my inner soul’s development.
Meanwhile, let’s stay focused on the topic of discussion: It’s great tradition, to be sure, and I think we should keep it up. (Or would that be “on”?) After all, there is no better way to head home after a long day at the school-office-station-farm-site than with a few choice chocolate sprinkles embedded in one’s ‘stache.
I’m not clear as to how “Mo-vember” all came about and why. I think the dead of winter, traditionally colder months, would be better suited for this nose-duster bit. Trouble is, it’s hard to come up with something quippy that flows with February.
Unless it’s something like “Feb-you-hairy.”