Yesterday, I had something to do and I was a bit late for doing it and all this was so unusual, given the nature of the last two months, that I panicked a bit.
I decided that a beard trim was in order before I did the thing and that, in itself, was a bit stupid because I was behind schedule and a bit hassled and these are not the best circumstances in which to introduce the trimming of practically anything, let alone a beard.
Positioned in front of the bathroom mirror, I switched the trimmer-thing on and checked that the gauge was set to the requisite five. It was actually at five-and-a-half so I carefully (and literally) dialed it back a little. Then I set the machine to my face and ran it up.
A neat pale strip of unhedged skin immediately presented itself in the mirror. “What the hell?” I jumped back as if I had been bitten. The machine had just swished off an entire section of beard. I checked the setting, which was correct and then I_
Oh shit. The guard/cover thing. I forgot to fit the guard/cover thing on to the trimmer blade. You know, the thing that moves up and down when you set the dial from five-and-a-half to five. I had run an unguarded trimmer blade right up my face and I was now part-shorn like a greying, middle-aged sheep.
I showed it to Patricia. “You could probably get away with it,” she said. She had a point. Who in the hell was going to see it and, more pertinently, who in the hell was going to care? But no. The luminescent white strip would be a reminder of my stupidity for a couple of weeks to come. This could not stand.
I repaired to the bathroom and whipped the whole lot off. It was surprisingly quick and easy. Much more so than when I would just trim it.
So here I am, sitting and typing to you, Dear Reader, a clean-shaven man once more. It’s been a few years, I think and, if I think it’s been a few years then it’s probably been a few more.
And here’s a thing, I don’t like the look of this face of mine. No, no, I don’t.
I remember my much-missed friend, Simon Ricketts, upon seeing Liam Brady on a TV show, saying in that kind and understated way of his, “Liam’s put on a bit of timber, hasn’t he?” This, possibly on account of Simon’s lovely accent, led me straight on to an aural memory of Phil Daniels chanting, “You should cut down on your ‘pork life’ mate, get some exercise.”
Because, alas, the truth is now out there, revealed as the greying whiskers drifted into the newspaper sheet in the basin. I’ve put on a bit of timber.
It’s not altogether surprising. The reasonably frenetic pace of my normal life has inevitably slowed over the past couple of months and, although I’ve been walking every day, it hasn’t been as much calorie burning as I would normally do.
There’s been other things too. You know that news story where loads and loads of gang-sized chocolate bars have been sold during the lockdown? Yes, that was me.
I’ve been avoiding the weighing scales. Stepping around the device gingerly as if it were a land mine that might go off in my face if I got too close. Not too far from the truth, that.
So, I’m typing to you this morning from the Wild West of Ireland in full possession of a face that I’m not all that fond of.
The chocolate will have to go. The exercise will have to ramp up considerably. What else?
The beard will have to come back.