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The daily scrape

I resent the necessity, the time spent, and the discomfort, and still every morning I take up a small blade and drag it across my face. Shaving is the most disagreeable daily chore.

Don't bother to offer suggestions. I have tried electric razors and safety razors, pre-shave lotions and alcohol-laden aftershaves, improved blades with advanced features and primitive blades, shaving foam. shaving gel, shaving soap, hot towels, emollients. (No straight razors. My powers are somewhat under a cloud in the morning, and I'd just as soon not cut my throat.)

It doesn't matter; the result is always that my skin feels as if it had been sandpapered.

A beard would resolve the problem but create another. Mine is thin on the cheeks and bristly on the chin. When I grew a beard as an undergraduate, I resembled a ferret peering from a shrub. Besides, a woman I was in love with told me that I had a beautiful chin that it would be a shame to cover up, so there's vanity to be taken into account.

A compromise would be to go unshaven, particularly on days off. But, as I have said elsewhere, you may imagine that stubble makes you look like Brad Pitt, but in fact you just look like you're coming off a bender.

They tell monastics to immerse themselves in the daily, to learn to find joy and satisfaction in performing the necessary tasks, the sweeping or washing dishes or whatever. Codswallop. I stand at the sink, blade in hand, peering into the mirror, knowing that day after day of the same abrasion stretches before me. It's a damn life sentence.



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