A Beard For All Seasons

Give us this day our daily beard.

—J H Christ, The Lord’s Prayer

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man.

—William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

As a genuine, 100%, red-blooded male, I naturally sport a magnificent beard. In my hero Charles Darwin's day, beards were very much the in thing. Sadly, beards seem to be in something of a decline these days, with ever-increasing numbers of men going through the daily self-mutilation ritual that is shaving.

To make matters worse, us beardies suffer persecution which would be unacceptable if it were applied to any other minority group.

The most prevalent example of such institutionalised pogonophobia is in the workplace: Maggie Thatcher and Hitler wouldn't allow beardies in their cabinets, and Disney, McDonald's and Bill Gates won't employ us either.

What is it with these people? Do they think us beardies are untrustworthy, or unhygienic, or something? A quick glance at the following table should be enough to convince anyone that beardies should be running society; not persecuted by it:

The Great UnshavenBeardless Wonders
Charles DarwinDame Margaret Hilda Thatcher
William ShakespeareJeffrey Archer
Karl MarxAdolf Hitler
Uncle RemusWalt Disney
Santa ClausRonald McDonald
Jesus ChristSatan
GodBill Gates

Yes, I know what you're going to say: What about Rasputin; the Yorkshire Ripper; Osama bin Laden? Believe me, my friends, beneath every one of those apparently magnificent beards was a stark naked chin screaming to get out.


About 85% of job applicants seem to be unable to spell the word liaise. I know this for a fact: I've counted. Nearly everyone seems to miss out the second i. It's uncanny.

Actually, it's not uncanny at all. Do you know why so many people miss out the second i? Because they write their CVs using Microsoft Word™, which tells them that it should be spelt liase.

True, in a sensible world, the word liaise wouldn't have that second i, but the world isn't sensible, so the second i is there (doing nothing of any value). If all words were spelt phonetically (or should that be fon-e-ti-klee?) we wouldn't need spell-checkers, but, given that we do need spell-checkers, shouldn't we be able to rely on them?

Once again, Microsoft churns out unreliable software, and we buy it. It would appear that the spelling of the word liaise isn't the only thing that's stupid in this world.


Has the world gone completely mad? A woman has successfully sued a stage hypnotist for re-awakening memories of childhood sexual abuse.

Don't get me wrong: such awakened memories, be they real or imagined, must be extremely traumatic for the individual concerned, but blaming the person who awakens them sets a dangerous (and stupid) precedent.

Where do you draw the line? I once knew a trainee teacher whose memories of childhood sexual abuse were re-awakened when they were being taught how to recognise the signs of sexual abuse in their pupils. Should they be entitled to sue the teacher training college? If a war veteran is distressed after watching a war documentary on television (or reading a novel like Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong), should they be entitled to compensation?

I believe the case in point was won because hypnotism has an air of mysticism about it: it has the ability to delve into our innermost being. Does it bollocks! Hypnotism is not some mysterious state of mind; it is simply going along with what you're being told to do (usually to avoid conflict or embarrassment). It is no more a state of mind than mowing the lawn, watching TV, or reading a novel.

Some people under hypnosis claim to have regressed to former lives. An uncanny number of them turn out to have been ancient Egyptian slaves. Presumably, if they remember being mistreated by evil masters in their former lives, they will now be entitled to some sort of compensation from their hypnotists.