To Be(ard) Or Not To Be(ard)

 This picture is supposed to highlight my beard, from 2013, but I know that shirt is going to be a distraction. It was a gift from my brother. God bless him for thinking I could pull it off.

This picture is supposed to highlight my beard, from 2013, but I know that shirt is going to be a distraction. It was a gift from my brother. God bless him for thinking I could pull it off.

(Sunday Paper, Volume I, Issue 29)

I'm thinking of growing a beard.

Not for the first time - I've had a few beards....the first one I grew way back in 2005, when I was student teaching, to make myself look more authentically ancient Greek for a project the kids were doing. (What a dork!)

Then I grew one for consecutive winters - I forget how many - my last few years of teaching.

The main reason - I was too tired to shave meticulously every morning.

So in the winter, I went from big shaves every day to a few minutes cleaning things up a couple of times a week.

It helped me sleep a tiny bit later on the super-dark mornings and I didn't think it looked half-bad.

So now I'm thinking about growing one again.

There are a few problems with this thought process though:

1) The hair on my head went white pretty early on - not too long after the kids came along. When I grew the beard it was consistently dark. But now I notice more and more white stubble. So when I grow it out - I'm going to be a graybeard. Do I want to be that guy? I'm not sure.

2) A lot of comics have beards. I have not taken the stage with a full beard since I began comedy. And to be honest, since I've started comedy, it seems like a lot fewer comedians have beards than there used to I don't think this is a deal-breaker. I don't think anyone will care whether or not I'm performing with or without a beard....and since it's not going to be on my face forever (I'll likely shave it by the spring) people will quickly forget I ever had one.

3) This one is the potential deal-breaker: no one in my house likes it when I have a beard. My wife is not a fan. My kids don't like the prickliness when they kiss me. So it might be a long, lonely winter for good ol' John.

So that's the case for (but mostly against) the beard. One more thing should be said - my last beard ended prematurely. I was neatening it up on Christmas Eve 2013 and my hand kind of slipped and took out too much of a chunk to just even it out on the other side. The whole thing had to go. And it's always been in the back of my mind that I need a beard for a full run...maybe my last beard. Who knows.

So that's why I'm probably going to start growing it out this week...and if you see me don't be taken aback by my sloppy face. Also, if you care to weigh in one way or the other feel free to do so.

But you don't have to...I know most people are going to side with the wife and kids on this one.


*I told you a couple of months ago about articles I was writing that would be put out down the road...well, we've reached down the road. Keep your eyes peeled, if you receive a GateHouse Media newspaper or other publication, for a Pearl Harbor Day insert. I wrote a few pieces that appear in that magazine, which came out this week. I'll try to get a link up here probably next week, but if you see the magazine anywhere, or even one of the articles syndicated somewhere else, please let me know.


*Hit a couple of open mics and went to a couple of shows this week, which was good. It's the pace I am hoping to make the consistent pace in 2017. Things pick up again this week as far as performances - I've updated the 'Comedy Shows' link at the top of the page. It gets underway with the final show of the calendar year at Speakers this Thursday, the 15th, where I'll be hosting a very fun lineup. I'm really looking forward to that show. Then there are a few next week, including a storytelling show, which should be cool. I'll talk more about that next week.

What I've Been Enjoying

*Not unlike the comedy scene, the more connections I make in the writing world, the more I am exposed to different folks' writing and finding different writers whose work I enjoy. The connections aren't in person, though I suppose someday, if I immerse myself in the writing world the way I've done the comedy world, they could end up being so. They're more social media connections and finding each other's work online. It's through social media that I came across someone whose work I really enjoy: She goes by the writing name Sister Serendip ( and @Sister_Serendip on Twitter). She writes honestly and inspiringly and has performed with The Moth. (I have been meaning to look up her story on the Moth's website but I'm more interested in happening upon it on the podcast randomly one day.) I very much connect with her writing style, and my favorite pieces of hers are her list-style 'Five on Friday'. Every Friday she takes on a topic in a five-point format. It's something I've started to look forward to every week. It's been a while since I touted another writer on here...she is the writer I've been enjoying the most lately.


*I'm not sure how many of you reading this know my dad, whether it's through recent interactions or from an entire lifetime, but you may or may not know that for about half of my life he was bearded. This probably has some kind of impact on my beard decisions - a beard feels very much dad-like to me because of how I grew up. My brother often grows a beard, for what that's worth...and when he does he looks very much like my dad. (When he doesn't have a beard he also looks very much like my dad in the late '60s/early 70s, before he had a beard.) OK. Enough beard talk.

*Today is a very special day - Nutcracker day. This is when my wife takes the girls to a performance of the Nutcracker and I have a block of a few hours all to myself. This is the first time they're going on a Sunday afternoon, so today I'll be going someplace where I can watch multiple football games. In the past they've gone to a Saturday evening performance - a couple of times where the Jets were playing what's become their pretty consistent December Saturday night game. So I would order in something really unhealthy and sit on the couch and watch the Jets. Today will probably be healthier - both for my mental state (Jets-wise, since I don't care how they do and will pay attention to every other game happening) and physical state (food-wise).

*The Christmas tree is in the house and in the stand. We bought it relatively early this year, a benefit of which I didn't realize: it was pretty fresh and the needles didn't go everywhere when I brought it in the house. That made my second-least favorite activity of the Christmas season much more pleasant. Still not looking forward to my least-favorite activity of the Christmas season: When I have to take that dried out dead tree to the curb in January.

*Want to get me an early Christmas gift? Give me a Facebook like at the writing page or follow me on Twitter...and if you already do, tell someone who doesn't. Thanks for reading!