Beards are bad for business


Beards are bad for business ?
As the proud owner of a beard, now unfortunately somewhat graying , I was fascinated to see the heavy and highly effective disguise which was adopted by the Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, now standing trial at the Hague before the War crimes tribunal . For thirteen years, this man, hiding behind a luxurious growth of fabulously white beard with his long dense mane of white hair tied up in a topknot, managed to evade capture by NATO’s ‘intelligence’ services. His disguise was so effective that he was able to set up in business as a guru in alternative medicine selling magical trinkets on ebay guaranteed to cure any and every illness under the sun . Not only that , he also appeared at conferences and was posing as an expert giving lectures on all manner of weird subjects . He even appeared on television . In his spare time he would frequent a well known Serbian nationalist bar in his residential locality and entertain the drinkers with stories and songs accompanied on a one stringed instrument the name of which evades me completely . His favorite seat was under a large portrait of, guess who , the Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. Whilst hating the despicable crimes of which this man is accused , one can only admire his boldness and inventiveness in evading capture for so long . You could even say he has the cheek of the devil !

For many years now my family and some of my friends have accused me of hiding behind a beard in order to avoid revealing the true nature of Robert [but I have to assure you I am not a war criminal in hiding , basically I’m not old enough and I have never been involved in a real war like those brave boys of ours putting their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan]. But I did for a few years shave off my beard after the chairman of the company I worked for did his annual tour of the offices and whispered in my ear in a husky voice – "beards are bad for business !!" – to my everlasting shame I did exactly that, the main reason being that in those days it was quite possible to lose your job for such a trivial offense. I put family, fame and fortune before my appearance . Later, I grew the beard again [or in actual fact I made a decision to stop shaving since I calculated that ten minutes spent shaving every morning amounted to an astonishing 2.53472 days per year standing in front of a mirror scraping my face – something that nobody in their right mind would even contemplate having carried out the calculation ]. The reappearance of my beard revealed that it is indeed an effective method of disguise even if trimmed to a respectable size . More recently I was walking my dog when I met a friend who was jogging around the playing field . I asked him how he was getting on with playing his mandolin in a local band to which I also used to belong. He looked at me with amazement wondering how I knew so much about his life – I mentioned one or two other facts about him but it took him almost five minutes to realize that he knew me from the past, but only without a beard .

The recent re-emergence of Radovan Karadzic and the effectiveness of his identity change made me wonder who else out there might be hiding behind a beard. It may not have escaped the notice some of you more observant Grantham journal readers [who I assume also read the national press ] that the Church of England , one of the most stable institutions in our country having existed since 1662 , is presently in the process of dividing up into warring factions . As a diehard Anglican (or ‘C of E’ as you say in hospital when they ask your religion ) am saddened, exasperated and stupefied by the spectacle that has just come to an end – the Lambeth Conference of about 800 Anglican Bishops held every ten years in Canterbury [is Lambeth in Canterbury?]. This year only about 600 Bishops attended since the other 200 have formed an alternative conference called GAFCON [if you want to know what GAFCON stands for then I suggest that you googe it!]. The whole thing is not so much about beards [which incidentally are strongly recommended for men in the old testament ] but about the ordination of gay or lesbian people to the office of priest or Bishop . Across the Bishops roughly half are opposed to this but some are more opposed to it than others.

There was a photograph in the Guardian of a large group of Bishops attending the conference [the ‘real’ one at Lambeth in Canterbury ?] I noticed that many of these Bishops were heavily bearded and I wondered whether there was any correlation between beardiness and support for gay clergy [or indeed with hiding]. Unfortunately the Bishops did not wear their consciences upon their sleeves and it was therefore impossible to decide on this incredibly important question . I also noticed that the most heavily bearded of all the prophets [sorry Bishops] was the Bishop-in-Chief of this wise, sagacious and bearded assembly , namely the Archbishop of Canterbury . Rowan Williams is indeed a gentle and holy man who has managed for the past few years to sit on the fence and often at the same time both agree and disagree with those who are for and against gay clergy [alright it’s confusing!!].

I have to stop at this point and make the important announcement that it is not gay clergy which is the problem for the Anglican church – the problem in fact revolves around the ordination of openly gay clergy . In other words you can be a gay clergyman without causing any difficulty whatsoever so long as you don’t tell anybody . This is just as well since it is estimated that about a third of all clergy are in fact gay or lesbian, a profession which has proved attractive to them second only to the theatre [to which the Church is closely related if you think about what happens around the altar (for ‘altar’ read ‘stage’) on a Sunday morning!!]. However, if you transfer this principle to other activities which the church is opposed to , such as stealing , adultery and murder , then it would appear that any of these activities are completely acceptable so long as they are not carried out openly ! ! This of course would not just be hypocrisy run riot but would also be a complete nonsense in the eyes of any rational person , church going or not.

Back to the main point which has something to do with beards. Who is Rowan Williams ? Is he really the Archbishop of Canterbury who is able to count how many angels can dance on a pinhead, or is there something more sinister behind that lovely straggly gray beard that the church is not prepared to admit (openly ) ?

Please send your answers to Robert (the bearded one ) either electronically, preferably in disguise !!!, or written neatly on a pinhead .



About barrywhit

I am a retired engineer and I live in darkest Lincolnshire, UK. I am an author and when I retired, published a book in 2004 and another one in April 2008. I am now also a retired author!! If you have ever written a book you will understand what I mean. I am interested in science, aviation, philosophy, spirituality , politics, progressive rock painting (art not rooms) and films. I prefer wide open spaces to city centres. Lincolnshire has the biggest skies in the country and I love it. I am a left wing, liberal Anglican, I read The Guardian and Observer. I am a Republican at heart and an armchair communist!
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