The Shave

Every once in a while, particularly when I don’t have any school or speaking engagements coming up, I shave off the beard. I actually prefer being clean-shaven, but my wife and kids all prefer me bearded, so that’s become my default look.

For me, the best part of having a beard is when I shave it off. That’s when I can try all sorts of funky hair patterns.

A few weeks ago, just before dinner, I shaved my chin. This left a swath of hair that went from my sideburns, down my jawline, and up and over my top lip.

As I sat down to eat, the family reacted with varying degrees of shock and horror.

“Okay, okay.” I went back to the bathroom, fired up the electric shaver, and shaved just the middle portion of my top lip.

“No,” my oldest son said upon my return. “You’re not going out of this house like that.”

At this pronouncement, my wife laughed so hard, I thought she was going to hurt herself. I left the table and shaved in some vertical stripes.

“It’s my tiger look,” I said when I returned.

“That’s not a tiger!” my oldest shouted. “That’s terrible!”

“I know what you’re doing,” my youngest son said as I left to complete the shaving process.

“You’re just doing it so we won’t mind,” he continued when I returned. “You show us the bad looks, so we’ll be happy that you shaved.”

“Na-ah,” I said, sitting down.

“But we still like the beard better,” he finished.

I scooped up a huge amount of broccoli and dumped it on his plate. “Eat your veggies.”

He was so outraged, he could barely speak. “What? No!”

“Sometimes,” I said. “It’s better to keep quiet. Now eat your veggies.”

“Mo-om!”

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