After two weeks of growing a beard, last night was the night to show it off to the world. Last night I became a lumberjack, complete with a thrift store flannel shirt, old mess dress uniform suspenders, and an axe made out of cardboard. It all combined into the perfect fit for me.
You probably can’t see it in the photo, but my self confidence was shaken. That’s because earlier in the day someone asked me if I was going to use hair color on my beard. “No”, I said. “Why?”
Because of the gray.
“I guess you can always go as an OLD lumberjack.”
I have always had light colored hair. It must have been weird lighting.
Nevertheless, last night I stepped out with my daughter and friends for trick or treating, and – no joke – as a young man passed us, he said to his friends, “Hey look. A lumberjack!”
He had obviously seen the outfit, the boots, the cardboard axe, and especially the burly whiskers and was so inspired that he just had to exclaim out loud that I did, in fact, look like a lumberjack.
And then I got to thinking.
1. I live in Idaho where looking like a lumberjack isn’t exactly out of the mainstream, so why would a high school kid be so inspired to say something out loud when he saw me?
2. High school students do not, as a rule, say anything nice to total strangers, let alone grown men dressed in costume.
3. So he must have been mocking me.
Sure. You could draw that conclusion, but I prefer to believe that he spontaneously exclaimed his admiration for my authentic look, anchored by the full bodied, absolutely not gray hair that covered my face.
When we got home, I took a last look in the mirror at my hairy face. Halloween was over. The razor came out and in a couple of minutes my cheeks were back to their normal smooth state. The whiskers had been fun for a couple of weeks, but they weren’t for me.
After the beard was gone, I stared at the reflection in the mirror. It was familiar. Welcoming.
And then I glanced at the hair in the sink.
It was gray.
Next year I’m going as Uncle Fester.