So that 72 hour deadline may have been unreasonably optimistic (4.33 posts per day says, “really, I had NOTHING else to do”) but I was serious when I announced a 13-part HBO-style retrospective on this past month. You know, the one I kind of skipped. Over the next week I’d like to revisit everything Lifting Fog missed, from the public (Election ’08, PHILLIES OMFG) to the personal (learning to drive in NYC, clinging to college) to the private (it’s… it’s back). Dual goals here: first is regaining your trust. Second is washing the barnacles from my keyboard. A third might be world peace, but I don”t expect a few blog entries to completely bring us all together. Not just yet.
1) I Grew A Beard
Call it laziness, but that I wasn’t able to blog with any real gusto this weekend is mostly because I was home in South Jersey. Ever been? It’s a wonderful place filled with laughter, hope, and Wawa coffee; the reason New Jersey is known as the Garden State and home to real salt of the earth folk. When people talk shit on Jersey, they’re usually thinking of NORTH Jersey, home to landfills and chemical plants and guidos. We don’t even know how to spell “guido” in South Jersey. Grammar is somewhat lacking, too.
Despite these educational hurdles, I managed to do alright for myself. Apartment? Check. Babes? HAHA are you kidding m Check. Exciting career? Umm… ye… we’ll come back to it. Whatever the circumstances, I’m alive. And I owe at least 50% of my gratitude to Jens B Fog. Father. Tall guy. South Jerseyan. (Actually the rest of this post has nothing to do with South Jersey; I just felt like writing about it, if only briefly) He’s also bearded like the Norse Gods of yore. Pictures exist of a clean-shaven Jens, sure, but it’s kind of unnerving – like seeing mall Santa Claus pulling off his cotton beard. Since I was little, he’s always been pro-beard. My dad isn’t my dad without facial hair.
My own situation is different. Aside from having no children that I know of, I’ve always maintained a smooth, cherubic look. Up until maybe last year, when I hit puberty, replicating Papa Fog’s style was borderline impossible. Willpower didn’t work; like salted earth, there were patches on my face that simply wouldn’t grow. Were I to not shave, I’d look like an unkempt golf course. So not fabulous.
But I’m no quitter. Driven by some combination of coldness (when you don’t have money, you stay warm any way you can) and pretty clear Daddy Issues, two weeks ago I embarked on another attempt to grow. And? Miracle of miracles, I today find myself inching toward facial follicular fullness.
Or make that yesterday, considering I already shaved it off. There were a million reasons to cut and run – too itchy, too dirty-looking, not “kissable” – and few to keep the dream alive. I mean I loved the beard websites I visited. Beards.org was particularly fantastic, offering lifestyle suggestions and comprehensive solutions to beard-related problems. There’s a real community out there, the same that exists for bald guys and fans of Clay Aiken, and their closeness is heartwarming. But the price of membership is too steep. One beard-site I visited suggested growing for 4 WEEKS before scultping. I just don’t have that kind of patience. True beard guys, like my dad, are long term. While living the life of a paper towel advertisement remains a wonderful dream, I’ve spent 22 years smooth and innocent-looking. Happy to keep up the illusion!
And Dad… we’ll always have South Jersey. BAM.