This week, I would like to address the problem of facial hair. Mainly mine. Some people can pull off facial hair, be it a full beard or a Fu Manchu mustache. I, on the other hand, can’t.

This is a decision I am ready to commit to for the rest of my life. Religion, occupation, musical interests, and everything else are still pretty much in the air, but at least I have one important thing nailed down now.

It’s not that I fear, ten years down the line, changing my mind. In fact, I know it will happen. At some point, I will decide to “experiment” with my otherwise beautiful visage. I want some way, now, while I am still clear headed, to stop myself from making a horrible mistake.

Let me illustrate my point. Take a marker or pen, and draw your favorite type of facial hair on that picture of my face in the upper left hand corner of this column. Does that look any good? Maybe it’s because I used a red pen, but my answer is no. If you think that artwork makes me particularly suave or scary, cut it out and let me see it.

Unfortunately, even though I want to commit to this plan, there is little to do to stop my daily need to shave. When I was younger, shaving was a right of passage, the closest thing I had to a vision quest.

When I wake up, though, I often have to hurry to class. Perhaps some of you are familiar with the problem of oversleeping for a 9:00 a.m. class. It would come down to a choice between showering or shaving, and surely, in that case, everyone involved would prefer that I arrive unshaven.

Some people just complain about their problems. I am one of those people. Far be it from me to actually do anything about this annoyance. That is why I would like to request that anyone who is studying biology or medicine, and isn’t trying to cure a major disease ? bubonic plague or better ? start refocusing their efforts towards a cheap, effective, non-surgical, alternative to shaving. Maybe a pill that I can take once every couple of years that will stop hair growth in the beard/mustache area.

I could even grow a mustache, take a photo of myself, and give it to you as a motivator. This is, of course, the first step in a line of much needed inventions I plan to tell other people to make. Next is the electric monk, which saves you the job of believing things for yourself.

Powell can be reached at

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