Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Beards - pt. 2

It appears my enumeration of full-face beards was deficient, i.e., I fucked up.  Please add to the list the following one (or two, depending on your interpretation of "Julius Mirson").

The perpetual 3-day growth.  Just what it says, except it may be as few as 2 days for exceptionally heavy beards and as much as 5 for lightish ones that are relatively difficult to see.  For hipsters only, which means young and thin.  A p3-dg on homo rotundus is no longer an authentic p3-dg; it's just an indistinct growth on a slob.  The trick in a successful p3-dg, of course, is the perpetual part.  That's what electric clippers are for.  Regular use thereof produces - or is supposed to produce - a laissez-faire/not trying too hard look.  Not trying too hard takes a lot of work, but it's cool if you can pull it off.  In addition to incompatible body shape, there's a caveat that cannot be overemphasized: age.  If one's whiskers are white, trying the perpetual 3-day growth will result instead in, uhh, see below.

The Julius Mirson.  Julius Mirson was my maternal grandfather.  When I knew him, he was, to my eyes, always old.  As in white hair, insofar as he still had hair.  About once a month, my mother would haul my sister, Karen, and me to visit Nanny and Poppy.  (Nanny was Bertha.  She had a mole instead of a beard.  I'm not gonna talk about moles now, so say bye-bye to Bertha.)  They lived in a high-rise apartment building.  We'd take the elevator up, get off and proceed down a long, dimly lit hall.  By dimly lit, I mean the predominant color was murk.  Or silt.  In other words, there was no color that one could detect with the naked eye.  Except for the doors.  Those were a deep burgundy, with the unit numbers displayed on goldish plates beneath the peepholes.  Sounds?  Not a chance on those carpets.  We could have heard ourselves talk, I suppose, but I don't think we ever tried it.  We knew what awaited us.  But don't think we were sensorily deprived just because we could barely see and couldn't hear.  We could smell.  The most distinct memory of my trips down that hall was the smell.  Close, floral in a bad way, stale.  It seemed that the air itself had weight.  I believe it's possible that while one was in those halls, time stood still.  (Probably a great selling point if you're marketing to seniors.)  Okay, up to the door near the end (I think it was near the end, but, because of the murk/silt motif, who knows) of the hall and ring the bell.  What happened next never varied.  Julius Mirson (never my grandmother) would open the door.  Open necked, long-sleeve shirt, giving his turkey neck full play.  He'd bend down and clamp one hand on my head (I always got it first; don't know why), the other on my jaw.  He'd pull my face toward his, rasp out an "Ahhh, svitniss," and plant a slobbery kiss on my cheek.  And that's where the Julius Mirson beard comes in.  JM had a perpetual - as in always, as in every damn time - 3-day growth.   And as he'd slobberkiss me (try this on the back of your hand; you'll have it down in no time), he'd rub his p3-dg against my entire cheek.  It would glide (rather unpleasantly, but still glide) over the slobbered over part and scrape against the rest.  Then he'd do it to Karen.  Sorry, I don't remember what happened to my mom.  I was probably too traumatized to notice.  Looking back, I wonder how JM ever managed to keep it at a 3-day level.  No clippers for consumers back then.  Did he plan it that way, waiting for my mom to call to arrange things and start not shaving at d-day minus 3?  Did he have a medical condition that prevented his facial hair from growing beyond a 3-d length?  If he were to come back to life, I think that's what I'd want to find out first.  I'd kinda like to hear one more "Ahhh, svitniss," too.  (Bertha's equivalent, delivered at a barely audible pitch, was, "Hello, dollink."  I'm pretty sure they got the idea for the musical from her.)

B/t/w -  I have a daughter.  When she was little I'd threaten her with noogies, zetzes (index and middle fingers' second knucles applied in a pinch), and Julius Mirson kisses.  I shaved every day, but by evening I had enough hair to inflict mild scraping.  Slobber was always available.  And I loved saying, "Ahhh, svitniss," as I held her head.  It was all in good fun, of course, but now she lives on the east coast, 3000 miles away.  I wonder why.

Partial-face jobbies next time, for sure; my other grandfather died before I was born.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely loved your description of Julius, and the walk down the hallway.