How do you take care of a beard that is a decade old? It was an unexpected question Washington state middle school teacher Gary Weddle had to ask himself after he made a personal vow following the September 11 attacks to not shave until Osama bin Laden was taken down.
His beard grew and grew, but bin Laden remained free. And so Weddle remained beard-covered. Until Sunday when the announcement came through that bin Laden had been killed.
On Sunday, with tears in his eyes, Weddle shaved his beard, much to the pleasure of his wife, Donita. By then he had gone 3,454 days without a shave. And to think, I can't even deal with my husband's day-old stubble!
Once Weddle learned about bin Laden's death, it only took him a few minutes to get rid of it. Before President Obama's address began, almost 10 years of beard growth was gone. Still, he had learned a thing or two about beards in that time.
Weddle's number one rule was to use conditioner. Also, since it had grown far down past his chin, he needed to blow it dry. Seems like a lot of work, no? But it shows amazing commitment from both him and from his devoted wife, who told KomoNews.com:
I wanted him to get rid of it, but it was his vow. I respected his passion and keeping a vow. I was willing to look past the beard because I love him. It's a very happy moment for us. It's a very happy moment for the whole nation.
It's hard not to respect a couple who is willing to make such a beauty sacrifice in order to serve the greater good. As Weddle joked, he wished his vow had more to do with giving up watermelon, but on the plus side, he has opened up a few new job ideas should he want to change careers. These might include horse groomer (those tails are the same texture as a beard!); ZZ Top manager; barber; Santa stand-in; and many, many more. Alas, he gave up those dreams when he shaved, but he seems pretty content with the loss.
Of course, it will probably take him a good month or so to get used to seeing his face without a beard. As anyone who has ever made a major cosmetic change knows, it can be a little disconcerting to look in the mirror and see someone else. Still, Weddle made a bold statement and let his outside reflect all of those years we all waited for some kind of closure on that horrific day 10 years ago.
It may seem like a small thing, but every time he looked in the mirror for a decade, he remembered. Can any of us say as much?
Image via ABC