I never shave on weekends. Stocking up on groceries Friday night (my true intentions hidden behind a perfectly respectable 5 o clock shadow), I spend the next 48 hours locked away in my room, feeling myself grow pricklier and more stubborn in my solitude.
As my beard ripens, the mirror changes with it, grows older, darker. I feel as though I'm going back in time - way, way back - to an age before razors and self-image, when my ancestors roamed the wilderness and wore the foliage of Man proudly on their jowls. Beards were not artifice then, not some burlesque disguise that you tacked on to your cheeks, but a living organic part of the human face. Running my fingers along the line of my jaw, feeling it raw against my palm, I can't help feeling that this beard of mine is a secret code, engraved under my skin by long ago cavemen, waiting to be deciphered.
What does it all mean? (Like Whitman, I wish I could translate these hints about the old beards and the new beards)
Sometimes I feel like I want to paint walls.
Sometimes I feel like I want to get drunk on cheap red wine and write like Hemingway.
Sometimes I feel like I want to throw stones at birds, only there are no birds in this city, only planes, and those are too far away.
Sometimes I feel like I want to be a hedgehog, bristling my spines at the world.
Sometimes I feel like I want to play long, groovy solos on a pedal guitar, losing myself in the minstrelsy of cocaine.
Sometimes I feel like I want to discover a new planet. Or Ginsberg.
Sometimes I feel like I want to write long free verse poems about the Revolution, and print them out on leaflets on some basement press and declaim them loudly at railway stations until the police come to arrest me.
(But what if they don't come to arrest me?)
Sometimes I feel like I want to wear stained camouflage uniforms and a beret and live off the jungle with only the long, cool barrel of my rifle for company through those parching summer nights.
Sometimes I feel like I want to lock all the doors and windows of my apartment and just ROAR.
(Hail! Rintrah! Hail the perilous path and the hungry clouds! Every good library should possess a lion).
The book I am trying to read has hidden itself away under my bed. I crouch for hours on the floor trying to coax it out, but it only burrows deeper into the corner. Could it be that it is afraid of my beard? Can it not see that its words too are only stubble, grown over long, long years?
I know I'm pathetic, living out my prototypical neanderthal fantasy alone in my 15th floor apartment in the heart of urban America. But hey, these things grow on you. And I swear I'll punch the first person who even thinks of mentioning the 'concrete jungle' on the nose.
Come Monday morning, I shall return to the reign of safety razors, my face shaved into neutral conformity. Having destroyed all the evidence of my weekend mutiny, having cleared myself of all its prickly charges, I shall lose myself easily in the commuter crowd.
And no one will ever know that underneath this mild-mannered exterior lives the ferocious, depraved intelligence known to barber-shops (and DC comic fans) everywhere as:
Categories: Whimsy, Humour