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Stick Miller: No mo Movember

Wives and girlfriends all over the world are rejoicing. It is December at last! Razors can come out of the medicine chest once again. The coast is clear. That’s right boys and girls. It’s official. “No Shave November” and “Movember” are things of the past, at least for the next 11 months.
I don’t see how guys do it. When, on Nov. 30, I sat clawing and scratching at my formerly clean-shaven neck, I looked like a cross between Yasser (That’s My Baby) Arafat and the Goat Man. I was unshaven, and uncomfortable.
You see, I don’t wear whiskers well at all. Today’s beard styles just don’t look good on me (or anyone else, for that matter). If it was stylish to wear a beard like Gabby Hayes or even Rutherford B. Hayes, those two wild and wacky Hayes boys, I think I’d be OK, but the mangy close-clipped Festus whiskers of the day remind me of a five o’clock shadow at six. That style just looks awful on me and the itching makes me feel like I need to be wearing a flea collar. I could pass for homeless.
My sons and my son-in-law have beards that exist in various degrees of scruffy. Of the three, my daughter’s husband’s beard is the fullest, probably because it is the darkest. It is neatly trimmed, but complete. I think all three of my boys would look better clean-shaven, but of course that is none of my business.
So, at least for this writer, and for this winter, the beard is gone. On the afternoon of Nov. 30, 2015, I dug out my old razor and began hacking away. Even with a fresh blade I felt like I was being shaved with a food processer. I think I would have felt less pain if I’d pulled the whiskers one by one with a pair of vice grip pliers. When I was finished, I walked into the kitchen to surprise Elise.
“You’ve been crying,” was her only response. You darn right I’ve been crying. I’ve wept and wailed. I might even have gnashed a few teeth, all for just trying to do the right thing.
Right now I am left with the feeling that my misery was pretty much in vain. I’m distressed, not so much for the misery of the last month, but because no one in my little hometown seems to have heard of either “Movember” or “No Shave November.”
I’m distressed because this is one of the few national gestures to bring awareness to men’s healthcare. Both events try to spotlight men’s physical and mental health. Trust me … when you pass age 65, you are likely to have both. I don’t know about you, but testicular cancer just sounds awful to me.
My son Mathew got me started on “Movember” about five years ago. He put me on his team. I even kicked in a few bucks to make it worthwhile. I wasn’t clear about whether the “kitty” was prize money for the best beard, or if the money was to go to charity. I later learned that all the money raised is supposed to go to support men’s health. That’s a good thing.
In the end, for me it didn’t matter. In a beard growing contest I didn’t stand a chance with these guys. Many of my son’s associates are from India or Pakistan or one of those countries that are populated by swarthy, world-class whisker growers. Those guys can strain for about 10 minutes and grow a beard that would put the Smith Brothers to shame. Needless to say, I didn’t even come close.
If I ever decide to grow a beard again, it will be on my own terms. Who knows? I might want to embark on a late-life career playing Santa Claus or I could get a “rig” and take up where the late Ches McCartney, Georgia’s own Goat Man, left off.
I suspect neither will happen, but I’m not taking bets that I won’t get a “wild hair” and do something nutty again. But, it probably won’t involve growing facial fuzz.
Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin.

Boyce “Stick” Miller is an award-winning columnist living in Americus, Georgia. Contact him at stickmiller@gmail.com