by My Red Beard
Look look, I gotta talk to you for a sec. I mean, let’s be reasonable here. We can talk this out, can’t we? I know we’ve been through a lot, you and I, but c’mon man, this is me we’re talking about. Please, I’m begging you — don’t shave me off.
How are you going to cut me down in my prime? Look at how big I am right now. Yeah… Feel how thick this is. Who else can grow like this? And I’m red! We’re going extinct and you’re just taking me out?
ANDREW’S FRIEND: Oh, where did Red Beard go?
CLEAN-SHAVEN FACE: Red Beard sleeps with the fishes.
Be proud of that shit! We redheads are blondes that haven’t got the fire fucked out of them yet, son, and I’m the flag on your battleship. I shine with the beauty of an autumn forest. Oh sure, you can grow a beard again when you’re older, but these are my glory years! Just steady condition me, keep up the manscaping… Shiiiit, I’ll be looking fly as hell. Good call to tidy up around your lip. Sorry I was a little annoying for a while, you know how it goes… But I’m not complaining. I’m all hooked up. So fresh and so clean clean. I’d bust out the Crip Walk right now if I could… But I’m only a beard.
Just say no. You don’t have to do this. You should be thinking, ‘Red Beard, I think you’re mighty fine. If you stayed around, everything would be jake, see? M’yeah.’ Like when your roommate came in earlier and said, ‘Hey, do you want to go to a strip club right now?’ and you sat there looking at him, stroking me in search of a response, weighing the options… Yeah, get the chin. Right there… And the cheek. Ooh yeah, the soul patch… Run down the sideburns. You see? I’m distinguished. I command respect. I represent your manhood.
MAN: Hey, is Andrew Veeder a man?
MAN #2: Oh, certainly.
WOMAN: I’ll say… You see that Red Beard he has?
Caress me and ponder the answers to life’s mysteries. You cannot deny me. Women love me, and you’re gonna diss me like that? I get all the pussy! You know this, you know! The fact that I tickle is an added bonus… Okay sure. You got me. But I won’t chafe. I’m all growns up now, nice and thick. I promise.
We go way back, you and I. Our boys The Sideburns go back a decade, at least. Y’all been through the rough of it… when they held you down freshman year and Jeff Niehus shaved them off. Buzz buzz, and it was over. Remember the Smokey Mountain hiking trip senior year of high school? I was just a youngin then, starting out post-peach fuzz, all patchy like Keanu Reeves. And every winter you have gone back to Wisconsin for the holidays, in the middle of fucking winter — I know how you feel about winter, and I’m always there, keeping your cheeks warm. I’m on the front lines, for you! Cool, I guess I’ll just catch those Doritos crumblies and drops of water. I don’t mind. Happy to help, boss. I’m a team player.
It’s all or nothing. I know how you do, shaving me off in multiple steps and chronicling it through photos. Having your way with me, as if the 1860s Civil War ‘W’ wrap-around is funny, or the huge munchops and bustling mustache? Am I a clown to you? What are you going to do, cut me down to a goatee? Ha. You know how much of a pussy you look like with a goatee of any size or shape. And a mustache? Don’t even get me started. Wax me up and flip me out all Rollie Fingers-style? I’m not a joke. I’m not on the strings in your cruel puppet show. If you rock a mustache, you either look like you’re:
1. A douchebag
2. A cross between Todd Parker in Boogie Nights during the culmination of the ‘Sister Christian / Jessie’s Girl’ scene, and a fucking redneck. Might as well buy a trucker hat. You may be red-haired, but you’re not a redneck. Unless you’re out in the sun for too long… So I hear, I can’t see that far.
3. Your father. And no offense to your old man, I love him as much as you do and his ‘stache is classic like Tom Selleck’s, but a mustache on that mug of yours looks comical. Is that your look? Yeah that’s wrong. Have some respect.
But let’s be real here: I’m a strike beard. That’s how I started off. ‘I’m not going to shave until the strike is over,’ is what you said. Razors down, you heard? Are you really going to open up that medicine cabinet and cross the picket line for the razor to shave me off? You’ve seen Letterman’s homeless-man, scraggly beard fall by the wayside, and Conan’s beard — well, a tragedy to see it go. A fallen red brother, taken from us so young. A handsome devil, too. Even Puff Daddy said, ‘You’s a fly cat, Conan.’ So you’re going to shave off your strike beard during a strike? How dare you, sir.
I’m going to be frank here. You’re not getting any younger. One of these decades, my Red dynasty is going to be overthrown by the devious Grey and White, dying with the wimper of your electric shaver. That battery is a piece of shit. Remember when you shaved me off in December at the behest of Della Penna to be an extra on CHUCK, and that shaver shit the bed halfway through your right side? You looked so busted you couldn’t leave the apartment until you hacked it off proper. What is the red-and-white look anyway? Brunettes get the ol’ ‘black-and-white, salt-and-pepper’ look when they age, and here you are, going to wind up looking like a Christmas sweater or a stocking. Well, bah-hum-bug, mister. If you got it, flaunt it!
Just think it over, okay? I’m begging you. Don’t make any rash decisions… for old time’s sake? At first it’s constricting, but then it becomes a part of you… right? Right?
I love you.
(My Red Beard is currently seven and a half weeks old, and resides in Sherman Oaks, California. Its hobbies include hanging out; itching; and intimidation, creating fear with a sort of burly menace.)