I realize that I’m still 2 days away from the actual date, but just bear with me on this one.
A year has come and gone since my friend and co-worker Emily Wasson (pictured below) put me up to the challenge. The challenge? Grow my beard out like Brian Wilson. It was kind of a funny way the whole thing came about as we were both working at Max’s Tavern that day.
There wasn’t really anything else to watch sports wise, but most importantly, I wasn’t going to let anyone else watch anything else on the TVs. It was the All-Star game!!! One of the few days I volunteered to work in the afternoon because I didn’t have cable at my house. What can I say? I’m honest. Anyway, as they were announcing the lineups Emily looked up as I did when they rattled off Brian Wilson’s name. If you remember, he looked into the camera and gave a little finger tip of the cap. Upon seeing this Emily told me that I need to grow my beard out like his. Well, my natural beard color is a brownish red, with a lot of grey mixed in there. I said that I would have looked like a crack dealer (which I still think I do). She dared me to at least do it through Halloween to see how long I could get it. I accepted her challenge and the rest as they say, is history. Well, not quite. The tale of the beard goes back further than that, so I’ll have to break it up a bit.
Memorial Day 2008
I’ve done a lot of stupid shit in my days, but nothing was more devastating to my health than the events that took place over Memorial Day weekend in 2008. A bunch of friends and I got together for the “Great American Keg Race” at a house not too far from where I lived in Eugene. There were about 50 of us that split into teams of 2, using the old-school recess captain’s selection format. The goal of this competition was for each team to completely finish a keg of beer. The winners get bragging right for a year. However, this year we upped the ante and got 2 kegs per team of sweet, delicious Natural Light. The two captains were my friends Mike Peth and Alex Corbin (banana suit above) and Mike had the first pick. I don’t remember who each took with their first round pick, but I do remember that I was the 3rd overall selection by Mike (red team). After all the teams were chosen, the drinking began. For those of you who have never done anything this crazy, the only thing to keep in mind is to drink. You can play beer pong, chug it, flip cup, it doesn’t matter. Just drink. Several hours passed and many red Dixie cups of Natty Light were consumed. By the end of it all, no one really knew who won, but a large shouting match broke out (of course) and a large cake fight occurred as well. The one thing we did know is that I was the MVP having consumed 27 full cups. I didn’t barf or anything and how I got home is still a bit of a haze. The next day I had a blazing headache (Shocker!!!), but had a little bit of a stomach ache. Over the next few days my stomach ache grew worse.(The photo above also shows what I looked like that day)
I had 2 jobs at the time and ended up having to go home sick several times because I couldn’t stop throwing up or going to the bathroom. It sucked. A few days ended up stretching into weeks and I lost an average of 2 pounds a day for roughly 3 weeks. I ended up going to the hospital 3 times before anyone could figure out what was wrong with me. Turns out I had somehow contracted giardia. Giardia is what people get in third world counties when they drink contaminated water. Well, I was in Eugene which has been noted for having some of the cleanest drinking water in the country. Regardless, I was dying, and fast. During that stretch I stopped eating, showering and shaving. All I could drink was water or Gatorade. Luckily, I pulled through. A week’s worth of anti-biotics cleared up all the parasites I had in my intestines. Unfortunately, due to how long it took effect, I will have issues for the rest of my life. All in all, I lost 37 pounds in a short period of time. For proof, look at the after photo below.
From then on, I have yet to shave my beard off. I did some maintenance work from time to time, but I NEVER let it go beyond a professional look. That is, until Emily gave me the dare. Months went by and it continued to grow. Day after day I had to look into the mirror at the ridiculousness that inhabited my face. And believe me; I didn’t really like what I saw. The craziest part of this process was the amount of people who grew to love it. Even before I dyed it black people got on the, “It’s Brian Wilson!” train, which I heard, and still hear 15-16 times a day. The even weirder part about all of this is the amount of women who came up and asked if they could touch. I’d say yes, but for a fee. I never really asked for anything, I just said a fee. One girl said I could touch her boobs for a fair trade. Needless to say, I didn’t say no to that. From that day forth any woman who asked to touch my beard had to let me touch their boobs. The sad reality of this… it worked almost every time. 25/27 to be exact (Is it really a surprise I know the exact number? I mean, I know baseball stats forwards and backwards). And before you call me anything harsh for setting that as a price, how do you think I feel about when people ask to touch my beard? But… the beard grew on: through Halloween (as seen below).
Through the Oregon football season. (This photo was from the PAC-12 Championship game and appeared in the College Super Fans collection in Sports Illustrated) I'm dressed as Randy "Macho Man" Savage.
through a few more tattoos (This is torn from the pages of the January issue of Inked Junkie from their collection from the Portland Tattoo Convention in September of 2011. This is in the glass case of High Priestess in Eugene, OR)
I had vowed to trim it down as soon as I got kicked out, and almost did it as soon as I was given my walking papers. Truth be told, I’ve never really been that big of a fan of my beard. As I mentioned earlier, I like keeping it professional looking, but with the amount of positive responses I’ve gotten about it, it made it hard to pick up a pair of clippers to tame this beast. The main reason why I will not shave my beard is because it’s a reminder of the keg race disaster that fell upon me. Since that time I curbed my drinking. I don’t do it as often, and I’ve pretty much cut liquor out of the equation all together as my body still has constant difficulty processing beer. As of now, I’m giving it until the end of the season, much the same goes for my hair. As my beard grows, so does my hair and vice-versa. But then again, I’m growing my hair to donate it to Locks for Love. To my knowledge there still isn’t a place to donate beards to. Shame.