Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I’ve been discriminated against!

Pardon me. I need a moment to calm down, slow my heart rate, and ungnash my teeth. 

I traveled three hundred miles round trip to visit a woman in the hospital. She’s certainly worth the time and effort. She’s lovely, bright, and appreciative. 

But not her husband.  He was standing by her bed. I had never met him before today. When I reached to shake his hand, he backed up with his hands pulled out of reach.

“I can’t. I won’t touch something dirty,” he said.

I wondered if he might have a germ phobia, but given his appearance, I doubted it. 

“Don’t worry,” I reassured him, “I washed my hands just before I came in.”

That wasn’t his problem. 

“I don’t trust a man with a beard,” he told me. “It’s unnatural. It’s not decent. And I figure a man’s got to be hiding something if he has a beard covering him.”

I could see by the light in his eye that this was an old craziness.

"That's why I don't go to church," he said. "When she came home and told me you had a beard, I knew I'd never set foot in your church." 

“I see.” And because I couldn’t help it, I said. “I wonder of Jesus had a beard.” 

“They didn’t have razors back then,” He said with a withering look. He bowed up, ready to fight some more. 

But I was done with him. I turned  away to visit with his wife who held her head and shook it slowly.

“I’m sorry,” she said. 

“It’s okay,” I whispered.  And then we talked. She was surprised that I drove so far to see her.

“You’re worth it,” I said.  I always say that. 

I didn’t stay long. But I was nice. I’m always nice except when I’m not.

On the drive home, I alternated between being mad and being amused.   

I am afraid his condition is permanent. He’s a terminal asshole. 

I have a lot of friends who are just as crazy, some of whom I love very much. They’re eccentrics who can’t get along with others and are very lonely. I know how to be friends and accept them and they’re usually grateful for it. And sometimes, just a little acceptance from the minister opens the door for them to the rest of the community. 

But for this guy, it just ain't happening. 

I’m almost sorry to say it, but I will not give this old fart one more minute of my time unless he’s humble enough to ask for it.  

But like I said, that's not going to happen.


  1. And let's face it - if you were clean-shaven, he'd have an issue with your glasses, or the colour of your tie, or something similarly ridiculous.

    I wonder if some people are not just looking for some kind of vending machine - "insert coin in this slot, get minister out of that slot"?

    I've had more than one colleague say to me that the ministry would be awesome, if it weren't for the people! Then again, it's folks like the lady you visited in hospital that make it all "worth it". But don't you sometimes get the impression that Lee Marvin's "theology" in Paint Your Wagon is right on the button:

    "God made the mountains
    God made the sky
    God made the people
    God knows why
    He fixed up the planet
    As best as He could
    And in come the people
    And gum it up good!"

    Enjoy your day further

  2. That has to be the most bizarre use of "unnatural" I've heard in a long while! Well done for not getting sucked in to the crazy. Yet another confirmation that I wouldn't have the patience to be a minister!

    All the best,


  3. Steven, I wish people would come right out and say, "I don't go to church because it's not important enough to me, even though I consider myself some kind of believer." You're right in that people like this woman do make it worthwhile. And yes, if it weren't for the people, this would be a great gig.

    Chris, I'm afraid he must have sucked me into the crazy a little since I thought about it most of the day. Oh well....

  4. Wow...your beard is "unnatural"? He must be a very lonely and at least somewhat dysfunctional old man...I am picturing Archie Bunker. I don't go to church bc you have a beard, wear a blue robe, have brown eyes, an accent, wear cowboy boots..." I'm agreeing with your diagnosis!


  5. K, he's probably isolated in his own world of craziness. It's too bad he can't come out because he had a beautiful wife who loves him, although why I don't know.

    PS: I was hoping my cowboy boots would cancel out the beard.

  6. From Wikipedia (if you can trust it) ...

    "Later, around 3000 BC, when copper tools were developed, copper razors were invented."

    I think your "friend" needs a history lesson.

    Anyway, he may truly have an issue with beards (not just on you). How sad to go through life like that.

  7. UU4077, I knew there have been razors for a long time. But he didn't care.

    He not only has an issue with beards, he just has issues. I'm sadder for his wife.