Here it is finally. Mike for all the world to see. Fully exposed. This is both the most awesome and saddest thing I've ever done.... Well, besides that one time I punched a 9-year-old boy in the stomach because I thought he was making fun of me on the subway. It turns out he was just waving to his mother.... she was sitting next to me.
You'll notice that I'm using a black and white photo. Everything looks better in black and white. Trust me. You really do not want to see this face up close in color. It's kind of like a baby's diaper. Not used or anything, sickos.... just a very white, unused diaper.... like my face. That metaphor is actually much more applicable than I originally had thought.
Anyways, I missed my chance to post a clean-shaven photo of me for Day 1 of the beard challenge. Oh well.... maybe a clean-shave photo of me does not exist. Perhaps, it's just one of those mysterious things in life that you could swear you have seen but just can't remember exactly when or what it looked like. You know.... it's like Bigfoot or Val Kilmer. What happened to him? Wherever he is, I can almost guarantee that he has a nice, full-grown beard right now.
Now, I'm already getting some nay-sayers out there.... some who are saying that Mike Maiella can't grow a beard anymore.... that I've lost my manliness.... my mojo, if you will. Well, I'll admit.... I've lost a lot the last few years, but I'll be darned if I can't still grow the fullest, manliest, most God-blessing American beard you've ever seen. It will be the most perfect beard that it will replace the idea of beardness itself. We'll just yank that right out of the sky and replace it with my beard.
Yes, you read that right. I didn't stutter. This beard and I are going to be like one of those famous duos in history.... like the Lone Ranger and Tonto, or Turner and Hooch. I know what you all are thinking right now.... and, yes, my beard and I are going to be fighting crime. My beard will be like the scout. When he sees the bad guys coming, he'll signal me.... and then I'll come running in to arrest them. You're probably all saying, "Mike, you can't just arrest people! You don't have the authority." You'd be wrong though. I will have the authority. Every man in this country over the age of 25 who has a "full beard" has the right to own and carry a gun "anywhere and at any time." They also have the authority to arrest "bad guys." I'm using quotation marks so you can clearly see exactly how it's worded on the books. Technically, I think this is only applicable in Texas circa 1878. This would explain why I would also be entitled to my neighbor's eldest daughter in marriage.
So, maybe I'm not actually allowed to arrest anyone or shoot guns whenever I want to.... or force my neighbor's eldest daughter into marriage. But if I've learned anything from the television show Heroes, it's that time and space are no obstacle for a hero. As my old friend Walt says, "So when you feel like hope is gone, look inside you and be strong. And you'll finally see the truth.... that a hero lies in you." I can never tell if he's giving me advice or just singing to himself. He's funny like that.