First beard a hair-raising adventure

Scary, huh?

Other times, its results can be humorous. For example, type ?French military victories,? and the results show a Google page (although a hoax) directing the user to a suggested search of ?French military defeats.?

I recently spent some time testing Google?s omniscient powers, I?m-Feeling-Luckying random words that popped into my head. (Yes, I just coined a new verb.) Among the random neural firings was the word ?beard.?

However, this query wasn?t actually all that random. Lately, I?ve had facial hair on my mind. (Of course, not literally.)

I?m attempting to grow a beard.

I started this no-shaving saga two or three weeks ago when I got an e-mail from Tabor College drama director Judy Harder saying that all men who are cast in ?Fiddler on the Roof? were to cease shaving so that all would have a beard by production week in mid-October.

It?s a nice thought, of course, having my own personal beard for a show. The last one was a fake.

I was playing a bumbling psychiatrist in Hillsboro High School?s spring drama ?Rumors? two years ago, and apparently director Terry Bebermeyer decided I needed a beard. One day he showed up at rehearsal holding Colonel Sanders? beard, wired onto a piece of display cardboard from a costume shop.

A few (hundred) dabs of Spirit Gum ensured that my face wouldn?t be able to make any expressions for at least the next three hours, which didn?t matter anyway, seeing as how I was covered with a disgusting wad of clogged shower drain deposits.

So I?m thrilled at the prospect of having my own, personally grown, made-from-scratch beard. There?s only one problem with this: I can?t, technically, grow a full-fledged beard.

My ?I?m feeling lucky? Google search of ?beard? led me to a Wikipedia page with a lot of information on the history and styles of beards. Since ?Fiddler on the Roof? is about a Jewish culture, I was interested to find a picture of a Jewish man with a traditional beard.

I?m not even close to that beard.

I?ve been at this for almost a month, and my neck hairs haven?t even reached a centimeter length. The hairs on my chinny-chin-chin and cheeks are there, but not terribly visible.

This makes me a little worried. Right now I?m running around looking like a hobo, and if my beard doesn?t shape up within the next two months, chances are all of this hard work will be for nothing when I have to shave it off.

Speaking of beard stereotypes (see ?hobo?), the Wiki?pedia page also mentioned some associations with facial hair.

?Men with facial hair have been ascribed various attributes such as wisdom, virility or high social status,? the page reads, ?and, conversely, filthiness, crudeness or an eccentric disposition, such as in the case of a tramp, hobo or vagrant. In many cultures beards are associated with nature and outdoorsmen.?

I don?t really feel I have the authority (or poor self esteem, as the case may be) to claim any of those titles. Nowhere in the Wikipedia description does it say, ?Some teenage boys in college-level musicals also attempt to grow beards for their productions, but often fail due to lack of actual hair growth.?

I?ve been trying to think of ways to encourage growth. So far I?ve been bribing it by letting it stay up late and eat junk food. However, those incentives haven?t worked.

My girlfriend, Shelby?who basically just wants my fledgling beard to get past the scratchy stage?suggested smearing Rogaine on my face.

I might end up trying it. It might work, and it?s probably a risk worth taking.

After all, I am feeling a little lucky.