Monday, May 14, 2012

the beard

The beard at its finest.  Photo: Raj Lulla Photography (well, Raj Lulla Photography's wife)

I started shaving in sixth grade.  I hated it then, and I hate it now.  Even as I write this, I know that my beard is likely inappropriately unkempt for my job hocking electronic devices at a major national retailer, and I don't care because I hate shaving that much.

For years, my mother was my beard's nemesis.  She insisted that as long as I lived under her roof, I would not have a beard, dye my hair blue, or get a tattoo.  Two out of three ain't bad.

While I rebelled against my mother a few times in high school, I didn't make any real attempts at beardliness until college.  The initial grow-out stage is itchy, however, and I usually caved in to the itch or girlfriends who were like a bad itch.

Then came college graduation.  Finally, the promises of my high school guidance counselors would be realized, and I would capitalize on my now greatly-enhanced earning potential by virtue of possessing a bachelor's degree while applying for jobs.  Sadly, this would mean that my lifelong dream of bearding would be crushed by the draconian demands of the white collar workforce.

Or would it?

As it turns out, it might be wise to reconsider "earning potential" advice from people who work for the public school system.  I heard principals make some decent cash, but let's be honest, it's not worth the garbage they put up with.

So I found myself unemployed (or "funemployed" as Natalie Dee calls it).  This precipitated the genesis of the beard.  I chronicled this period in life on my old blog:
". I did it. I grew the beard*. It seems that somewhere between not having anyone to shave for and the excitement (diluted as it may be) of watching the hair on one's face grow, this change in appearance is a staple of those finding themselves under-employed. 
*This should not be confused with post break-up beard and/or the Biblical morning beard (accompanied by the tearing of clothes and sitting in ashes)."

Within a year of the beard's arrival, I had found gainful employment and a serious girlfriend (who is now my wife).  Coincidence?  I think not.

By God's grace, I avoided a trap that my father fell into.  You see, he was clean-shaven when he met my mother and was therefore doomed to baby-facedness for as long as they both shall live.

I, on the other hand, shaved one day last year during a subsequent period of funemployment.  As it turns out, Lindsey hates my naked face, and I, like a modern-day Abe Lincoln, was required to regrow my beard in order to avoid scaring children, end slavery, and kill vampires.

My daughter does not seem to enjoy the beard that much, but I think she will learn to appreciate it once she becomes enamored with puppies, which are similarly groomed.  Plus, she is only the boss of this house insomuch as she controls the sleep schedules, cries until we cater to her every need, and causes us to dance around like idiots making funny faces just so she will smile.  She does not control my beard.

I relish the fact that Charlotte will grow up in a world where men do not look like feminized children who wear ties (to separate them from actual children)**.  Hopefully, we can get creepers (and hipsters) to continue sporting mustaches only, so they can be avoided on spec.

If I ever write a FAQ about my beard, it will include this fact: I do, in fact, stroke my beard like an ancient philosopher while thinking.  This is unpremeditated and quite reflexive.

Now you have it, the story of my beard.  Any questions?

**This post was not written to offend the beardly-challenged or those who work for fascists (i.e. companies that don't allow beards).


  1. Raj, you should consider a full time writing career. I love reading your stories. - mike e.

    1. Thanks, man! I would love that. Maybe some day.

  2. I, like Lindsey, love and admire the beard growing skills of the Lulla men. I too find it strange and uncomfortable when Ravi goes baby-face on me. I understand not allowing half-grown in, dirty, scruffy lookin beards in the work place, but a full rugged beard, should be embraced!

    1. Haha. I love this. "A full, rugged beard should be embraced!"

  3. Was that an insult against ties at the end? I'm uncomfortable with this.

    1. It was not an insult against ties. Rather, it was an assertion that it should be easier to tell the difference between a boy and a man than just height and/or presence of a tie.

  4. I think the real question is, will you be going to see the film adaptation of "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter?"

    1. I doubt I will go see it in the theaters, but I will probably rent it. I've read a few pages of his new book Unholy Night, and it's pretty funny.

    2. I haven't read any of his stuff, but the movie looks pretty fantastic. Plus Alan Tudyk ("Firefly," "Dollhouse") is in it.


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