Being a cutup but not a cut off |

Being a cutup but not a cut off

April E. Clark
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April in Glenwood

I’m stuck on facial hair.

Last week, I conducted some light research on the mustache after discussing with a friend his preference of hair on the face. Looks like I may have started a hot topic. A couple of my bearded friends were kind enough to remind me that sure, real men have mustaches. But the beard is where it’s at for facial hair.

Depending on how messy the man is, the beard is where the food is at, too.

I work in the solar industry, so many – OK, most – of the founding fathers of the business have beards. These are the guys who got into solar before solar was sexy. They powered their tape recorders with the sun to play Grateful Dead tapes in the middle of nowhere. So it’s no surprise they followed in the footsteps of Jerry G. by growing beards.

And they never stopped growing.

Michael, a new solar buddy of mine with an everlasting beard, commented on the mustache story in favor of his favorite facial hair.

“Life is short, you’ll never get back the time spent shaving … 237,250 minutes, 3,954 hours, 165 days, .45 years spent shaving over a man’s 80 year life,” he said. “Assuming a 15-minute daily shave after age 15.”

Hopefully post-menopause chin hairs won’t be so taxing on my time.

Not only do I see a lot of solar guys with beards, but this facial hair preference is quite prevalent with comics. Just look at the bearded lady. The Chicken Lady from “Kids in the Hall” had a beard, hence laughter. And the most popular of male comics with a beard is Zach Galifianakis. I’ve heard people who don’t know his name call him “the guy with the beard from ‘The Hangover.'” I’m a huge fan – I recommend “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis” on for reference – so I know exactly who he is. I also know that his beard was great fodder during his “Saturday Night Live” monologue. Beards can be funny and sexy, all at the same time.

Mustaches, well, they just creep people out sometimes.

I gained some perspective on the beard after another comic friend, Andy Kaufman, wrote me an e-mail. And no, I don’t typically receive e-mails from the other side. This Andy Kaufman is alive and well and lives in Denver. He said let it grow.

And that he does.

Andy explained that he broke his neck – which my mother has been warning me about since I can remember – and experienced a loss of sensation on the skin of his throat. I remember my mom was always worried I would break my neck.

Climbing a tree?

“You’re going to break your neck.”

Riding a pretty intense mountain bike trail at Gnaw Bone in Indiana?

“You’re going to break your neck.”

Playing rugby in my 30s?

“You’re going to break your neck.”

I still haven’t broken my neck, and Andy did not explain how his came to be broken. But he did indulge me with some insight into his facial hair habits.

“Let it grow,” he said. “The wilder the better. My beard tends to be as wild as I am and once I throw my razor in the trash after Labor Day, I do not trim, clip, cut or prune.”

Andy admits he’s no Grizzly Adams. But, when sixth-graders ask, “Could we live without our bones?” he’s known to stroke his beard while asking them what they think.

Then he uses his beard as a pencil holder.

“As the school year goes on and the beard grows, it becomes a distraction. … They beg me to shave it off,” he said.

So Andy promises that if his students complete all of their homework assignments for three straight weeks the beard comes off on April Fool’s.

“Every year these spring fever laced kids do all their homework for three solid weeks just to see if I will do it, or if I am pulling some sort of April Fool’s trick on them,” he said. “And every year I show up all clean shaved and neat and trimmed and the kids understand that adults will do what they say they will if kids keep their end of the deal.”

Maybe even more than the moustache, the beard can have mystical powers. And looks darn good on Zach Galifianakis, too.

April E. Clark remembers her dad’s fiery red beard from the ’80s with fondness. He was always stylin’. She can be reached at

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