Monday, November 19, 2007

The New Beard and Alzheimers Prevention

One reason my blogging frequency has been low in the past month is I've felt I should blog about the Beard before I blog about anything else.

I've been delaying on the Beard because I didn't have a photo I wanted to use and I didn't know how I wanted to approach the topic.

But now I have this excellent quiz night photo from Kevin McPhee and I've decided to just do it.

About five years ago, I stopped shaving several days before Halloween so that I'd look more like a Viking. That did not exactly work, but I thought I'd continue with a goatee moustache combination (which many refer to as a "Van Dyck") to see if maybe I could pull off looking like a Musketeer.

One day, two itchy, irritating months later, I came to the conclusion that I could pull off looking like a Musketeer, but rather than looking like Dartagnan, the dashing one, I looked like Porthos, the big-eater. I shaved it off.

In August, I spent a lot of time sleeping in tents and got out of the habit of shaving. Back in Ottawa, I realized that Talk Like a Pirate Day was fast approaching and some facial hair would be appropriate. I decided to try a Van Dyck again.

Within a week, I had a noticeable growth and my face itched like crazy.

Like I always do when I have a problem, I went to the internet. Sure enough there are beard forums out there where guys ask "what can I do about the itching?" and other guys answer. Some answer with suggestions like "brush to remove dead skin", "use moisturizer", or "use conditioner". Most say you just have to wait for the itching to go away. It doesn't seem like there has been a scientific study on the topic.

I suspect that a study would confirm that, of the proposed solutions, waiting is the only one that works. I also suspect there are guys out there that waiting doesn't work for and these guys don't have beards. Unless they live in cultures where they have to grow them anyway and these fellows may well be why extremism becomes associated with bearded cultures.

I may be a guy that waiting doesn't work for. Why do I still have the Beard even though we are two months past Talk Like a Pirate Day? First, there was Halloween; the Beard made it easier to be a space pirate. Second, the ladies seem to like the Beard. Third, the Beard may stave off senility.

That's right. I'm growing facial hair to prevent dementia. Here is my reasoning: Forcing new circuits to grow in our brains is supposed to be good. They tell us to solve crosswords, vary our routes to work, brush our teeth with the other hand, take Spanish, etc. I figure that getting my brain to deal with the bizarre sensations of having a mat of prickly hair below my nose is going to force all sorts of new neural connections.

Beard growing for brain circuit growth has a few benefits over the other recommended methods that make it ideal for the lazy man:

  1. It doesn't take time that you would have to take away from another activity;
  2. You don't have to remind yourself to do it;
  3. While it's irritating, it is not hard like learning a new language.

Oh, I almost forgot my favourite quote about the beard, from a gathering at the Manx:

Me: So yesterday, someone at band practice told me I look like Mark Twain, "but in a good way".

Others: What? You don't look like Mark Twain.

Dave T: But you do look like a Mark Twain character. You'd make a great riverboat gambler.

It's funny because it's true.


Fingers said...

I like your lightbulb shade

Anonymous said...

Hey David, I like your new beard. I think you look like Robin Hood. I'm enjoying reading your blog because it is keeping me in touch with Ottawa. I wonder who else I know in town who has a blog?

coyote said...

I naturally applaud any efforts to become hairier. As long as they don't involve fleas. But if you have issues and no hind leg to scratch with, you could keep on itching... or you could purchase one of these li'l hummers instead...

Anonymous said...

Good work on the beard - not only does it look good, it looks effortlessly good. And it doesn't look in the least bit itchy, which is a very good thing. I also applaud your unique approach to staving off dementia.

XUP said...

The whole beardology thing sounds so gosh-darn exciting, it makes me want to run out and OD on testosterone so I can grow a beard, too.

David Scrimshaw said...

Fingers, thank you.

Frances, Robin Hood? Thank you! If I can find green tights I've got next year's Halloween costume.

Coyote, that is a great hat! Maybe one of my crafty friends will knit one for me.

Zoom, thank you.

Ms Pedestrian, hormone therapy sounds extreme. Perhaps you could instead do something decorative with your leg hair. I'm assuming that you either remove all of it or none of it. Why not do selective growth and removal so that you have an artistic design? I'll bet that would be great for neural growth.