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By Jason Offutt
I have a beard. It’s not a particularly good beard, but according to an Australian study, it’s probably helped me save the world from impending doom at least once. Probably twice.
How powerful is facial hair?
The study out of the University of Southern Queensland, “Dosimetric investigation of the solar erythemal UV radiation protection provided by beards and moustaches,” proves two things:
Radiation scientists cannot write a sentence in English,
Facial hair makes a man invincible.
The study found beards block up to 95 percent of the sun’s UV rays, reducing the risk for cancer, and keeping men looking younger, according to an article in the Radiation Protection Dosimetry Journal. Facial hair also reduces the amount of pollen and dust a man inhales, protects his skin from wind, and makes him look awesome. Or, maybe homeless, like Gandalf.
I’m not surprised. Look at all the people who accomplished superhuman feats with their facial hair.
Ernest Hemingway couldn’t get into WWI to fight, so he volunteered to drive an ambulance in places where he could get shot. He got shot and laughed about it. Hemingway won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature, drank like a Kennedy before the Kennedys were cool, and wore a dress until he was two years old. He killed lions, ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, and boxed just because he liked to beat people up without going to jail. Most of that aggression was because of his beard, but some was probably because of the dress.
President Abraham Lincoln. Elementary school taught us everything about Lincoln, right? Wrong. As a young rail-splitter, Lincoln developed Terminator strength and beat up gang leaders in southern Illinois for fun. Years later, during a speech while running for the Illinois General Assembly, Lincoln saw a supporter being attacked, so he dove into the crowd, grabbed the attacker by the neck and threw him onto a picket fence (I lied about fence, but only the fence). Then Lincoln freed the slaves because his beard told him to.
Chuck Norris. He routinely defeats Communists in Southeast Asia by simply not shaving.
President Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt didn’t have a beard, but he did have an amazing mustache. That’s why he was able to kill bears, ride moose and stay awake during a 40-hour trip guarding boat thieves while he was a deputy sheriff in North Dakota. As a politician, he just got meaner. When New York bar owner John Schrank shot Roosevelt in the chest with a .38-caliber pistol before a campaign speech in Milwaukee in 1912, Roosevelt still delivered his 50-page speech despite the fact that he was bleeding from a bullet wound. Of course, if Roosevelt had a beard, the bullet would have probably bounced off his flesh.
Further beard-wearing men are Paul Bunyan, Grizzly Adams, and two-thirds of ZZ Top. Life advice from all of them? Grow a beard.
Jason Offutt’s column has been in continuous publication since 1998 appearing in newspapers and magazines across the United States. Follow Jason on Twitter @TheJasonOffutt.