Wright Stuff: Beard Me Up, Buttercup!

Wright stuff beards

By Michael Wright 

When I was in the Navy, we couldn’t grow facial hair unless we were at sea and a sanctioned contest was taking place for the best beard and/or mustache. I went for a goatee/handlebar combo. I can still hear the words of the XO, who was the judge: “You may have the longest mustache, Wright, but it’s far from being The Best!” 

He didn’t like me anyway ever since I chose April Fool’s Day to apply for re-enlistment. 

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After my discharge, and during a short stint at a prestigious music college in Boston, I reinstated my facial hair. This resulted in me and a classmate being beaten up by a handful of jocks one night in the Back Bay section of town: Punch! “Damn hippies!” (Repeat, repeat.) 

We both had bruised faces, his with the addition of a broken nose. But we weren’t “hippies,” we were “musicians.” 

After the end of the summer session, my whiskers and I flew back home to Florida. 

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I kept the beard off and on. It was “on” when I met the Joy of my Life, who fortunately had a thing for beards. 

When she and I made the first of many trips to Virginia to spend time with my dad and family, a Southern Belle came up to me, and pinched my cheek, saying “I do declare, you look more like your daddy than your daddy do!” You see, by then Dad was sporting a beard of his own, which he maintained for the rest of his life. 

Recently I grew mine back, to which Joy responded, “I think I’m falling in love with you all over again.”  

The fact that it’s now white is irrelevant to her. What really freaks me out though, is that whenever I gaze into the mirror, Dad is gazing right back at me. And I don’t mind it a bit! 

If you have good beard memories, feel free to share at micwrighthamo@gmail.com.