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Byrd: I’ve got a beard, now what?

Klark Byrd

Oh boy, have I been looking forward to today! Today is the last day in a month-long quest to help raise funds for cancer research that I have to avoid eye contact with a lonely six-bladed razor sitting idly by on my bathroom sink. Today is the last day of No-Shave November.

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For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the purpose of men letting their faces grow shaggy and women forgetting to make that leg waxing appointment this month, “the goal of No-Shave November is to grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free,” according to

The site encourages those who participate to donate the money they’d usually spend on shaving or grooming “to educate about cancer prevention, save lives and aid those fighting the battle.”

The last day my cheeks tasted the cold, steel blades of my razor was in the mid-afternoon Oct. 31. For the first two weeks of this month, the itch was nearly unbearable. I even joked about rubbing my face against the living room carpet in search of some relief, and I probably would have done it if only my food-chucking 1-year-old would keep his spaghetti on his high-chair tray instead of on the floor.

My face finally stopped itching in the third week of the month, which helped make this challenge a little less challenging. This week, however, I can’t seem to keep my mustache out of my mouth. With all this hair as the gatekeeper to my lips, kisses with my wife have been reduced to quick pecks, usually ending with her pulling back quickly, giggling, scratching her upper lip and saying, “You’re pokey!”

Oh what a glorious morning it shall be tomorrow when I wake and am free to take up my razor in solid declaration that I do not have to look my age (or older, in my opinion). But alas, I find myself in a bit of a conundrum.

I’ve got a beard. Now what?

Do I really want to shave away everything but the soul patch and chin strap I had at the beginning of the month? Or do I want to start completely from scratch and just shave everything off? Or do I want to trim it and keep it growing?

I suppose I’ll answer those questions when I’m standing in front of my foggy bathroom mirror, electric trimmers and razor at hand. I know my wife would prefer the whole thing to go, but as a North Dakota buddy said to me, those below-40 wind chills are coming.

For all of this perceived trouble, I’m reminded that it’s really no trouble at all to help raise funds to research, battle and destroy cancer. Forget all the grumbling about the itchiness and lost kisses. I’m proud to have participated in this worthy cause, and from the bottom of my heart I thank anyone else who joined.

We’re getting better at fighting this disease every day, but we’ve lost too many good people to it. Let’s hope our contribution this year helps save a life. If it can, I’d say it was well worth ignoring the pleas of my forsaken razor.

Byrd is the news editor for The Dickinson Press. Email him at or tweet him at klarkbyrd.