Beardless in Gaza

OK, so my progress on the Trek (1305 miles) hasn’t gone as well in May as it did in April. I should be at around 440 miles by now, and I’m just under 300 miles. If I had a broader readership here, the public humiliation might have been sufficient to get me out on the road more, but so far that hasn’t worked.

So I shaved my beard off.

You have to understand that I’ve had a beard for most of my adult (post-college) life. I started growing my first beard during my last week at BYU (easy to do, since I was sleeping on my desk in my TA office while trying to finish my operating systems implementation project). The beard came and went a bit in my earlier years and, of course, disappeared altogether during my two years of teaching back at BYU (1985-87).  But it has been a pretty constant fixture since then, which is to say for the last 20 years, including through two stints as a counselor in a bishopric and several stints as a stake missionary/ward mission leader.

I’ve kept the beard because (a) shaving is a pain, (b) Sandra (my sweet wife) really likes it, and (c) most people agree that I look better with one. Heck, the last time I shaved it off — several years back, while we were living in Washington DC — the Washington DC North Mission president even commented on it, not to praise me, but to say that I “just didn’t look quite the same” without it.  Oh, and our dog Deacon barked at me for a minute or so when he first saw me without it, until I convinced him it was still me.

So the beard is gone until I complete the 1305 miles (plus a few other long-procrastinated goals), and I’m now reminded each morning why I liked it in the first place. Of course, the same day I shaved it off, I also stubbed my ‘ring’ toe on my left foot badly, almost certainly breaking it — there’s still discoloration five days later — so it’s not like I’ve leapt back into the walking circuit.  But soon, I promise. ..bruce..

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