I was driving along Neel Street one day last week and at the corner where Cottonwood Charter school is I spotted some kids putting up one of those outdoor free-standing lending libraries. All it is, is a little wooden box presumably with books inside, where you can take one, and then leave another book in its place. I’ve read about these before and they’re called, I believe, Little Free Libraries where you “take one, leave one.”
Feed the Need to Read is painted on the side. I don’t know what books are within but seems to me to be it’s a good thing, especially for school kids in the summer months.
There was another one up on Tech hill someplace but I’m not sure if it’s still there.
Speaking of libraries, back where I went to college over the entrance to the library was “The hope for democracy is the diffusion of knowledge.” I spent a lot of time there and, with technology taking over all things hands-on, I kind of miss flipping through those card catalogs; what the young’uns call prehistoric googling. When I think about it, I learned more there than I did at school, like for instance there, they’re and their. Oh, and you’re, your and yers.
But then again school’s out and today’s already the last day of May. Tomorrow begins the month that rhymes with moon and spoon, June, the gateway to summer, and it couldn’t come at a better time. May, for yours truly, was a month of good days, bad days, overwhelming days, I need more coffee days, I’m awesome days, I suck days...you get the picture.
The entire month was epitomized for me last weekend while shaving. Like a lot of guys, I’ve never been one to use an electric shaver, relying on what they call now a “shaving system,” that is, shaving cream and a five-count-‘em-five-bladed razor. I find shaving rather relaxing, letting my mind wander off on its own thoughts, while focusing on not cutting myself.
This time, however, my mind got to wandering so way, way, off that the next thing I know I’m shaving off one corner of my beard. My knee-jerk reaction is to go to the other side and even things up…and then go back to the first side, and before you know I was whittling the thing down to something resembling Jacob Nighthorse’s puny tuft on Longmire. It’s not much but it’s all I have, and I’ve come to like those chin whiskers.
I know I’ve gone on and on about beards before, and I’ve sported one since around New Year’s 2016 when my wife pitched me on the idea. I was thinking at the time I could have one like Errol Flynn in Robin Hood or perhaps Steve Reeves as Hercules in those movies I saw as a kid.
A lot of friends sport crumb catchers of some sort; Fu Manchus, goatees, muttonchops, full beards and what have you. One thing seems to be big with movie stars and heart-throbs is a what looks like a half beard; something between clean shaven, a five o’clock shadow and a regular beard, like a stubble.
But for some reason all that doesn’t apply to politicians. They all must have that clean shaven respectable look, apparently. For example, I can’t envision any gentleman running for president or Congress with a beard nowadays, although that doesn’t necessarily apply to local office holders. Looking at Gordy Hicks or Magdalena’s mayor Richard Rumpf, I’m trying to picture Mayor Bhasker with something like an Obi-Wan Kenobi beard. The Alec Guinness one, not the Ewan McGregor one.
I guess beards come and go, same as with mustaches, but it all comes down to what society calls for, I guess. Looking at history, there were some really great beards, especially during the Civil War period, you’ve got Abraham Lincoln to Robert E. Lee to George Armstrong Custer. Great beards all.
But that wasn’t always the case. A couple of years ago I ran across an article on the internet that referenced a book published in 1786 called Pogonologia, Or A Philosophical and Historical Essay on Beards. Apparently at that time, beards were becoming out of style and the author takes aim at the clean-shaven man by saying, "You pretty fellows of the present day, Jeremy Jessamy parsons, jolly bucks, and all you with smock faces and weak nerves be dumb with astonishment. I foretell it, you will soon resemble men.”
I don’t know if they carry that book at the library, but you can still get it on Amazon. And just for laughs, while you’re at it Google “Jeremy Jessamy.”
But anyway, time will tell if my whiskers will eventually even up, but for some reason I fear it will make Bob Dylan’s beard look good.
As we head into June I’m reminded of something Mark Twain once said. “It is better to be a young June bug than an old bird of paradise,” and that sums it up with me.