# # Personal Liberties

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

Personal Liberties

Personal liberties can be such small things, and yet even the smallest, silliest ones, are like so much in life: you don’t know or fully appreciate what you’ve got until something or someone takes them away.

I have recently faced the very real possibility of being financially unable to support myself. Fact of the matter, I’m still leading a tenuous existence but things have improved. Not only have I had measured success as a freelance graphic and web designer, I’ve also gotten myself a modest position at a national grocery store chain as a part-time baker, if you can believe it.

Now this latter isn’t a job I would have chosen for myself but I am grateful for it and am ready and willing to dive into the position of part-time, minimum wage worker if it means that I won’t have to go hungry or homeless.

Be that as it may, during the interview, when I was told I would have to shed any facial hair and piercings, I initially balked.

Now how silly is that?

So what if I’ve worn the earring for over 20 years and some form of the beard (minus a couple of Hallowe’ens) for over 13 years? Isn’t it better to be employed than “stylin’?” The answer is “yes” but I wish I could say I give the affirmation with enthusiasm: I do not.

The thought of shaving off what amounts to a square quarter inch of hair off my lower lip at someone else’s request – nay, demand – has proven very distressing and even a little depressing. Removing the earrings less so, because I know I can just slip them back on once my workday is done but …

Perhaps the lesson here is that I’ve made the mistake of allowing a few, personal flourishes to define in part, at least in my own head, who I am, how I see myself. Yet, in reality, I know that the beard and earrings, on or off, have very little bearing on who I am. Put a beard and earrings on a tire and it’s still a tire (albeit a rather odd, if very hip, one).

Still, somehow these ridiculous little statements, these facial bumper stickers, do define me on a very personal level, at least to myself. Without them I would feel not so much naked as bereft.

And what’s the big deal about a little, well-trimmed beard and a few, slim, silver hoop earrings? It’s not as if I have nickel sized grommets popped into permanently distended earlobes, a ZZTop-like trailing, emergency slide of a beard that tickles my knees when I laugh, or a tattoo on my forehead that reads “Fuck The World, and You, Too, Buddy,” so what’s the problem?

Well, let’s face it, that is the problem.

Many people do have such affectations and it is easier to say “none at all” than begin trying to define the taste line and risk finding yourself dragged into court every other week by the ACLU; the grocery store chain’s need to present itself in a certain way trumps my own.

And so I did it – I shaved my silly little beard, and I removed my five little rings and, in the mirror as I did so, I watched my eyes get a little sadder, my face a little older; a touch of wind left the sails.

Ah, well.

(serendipity: I had to shave off my beard on the 15th anniversary of the death of the person who inspired it.)

Tags: , , , ,

5 Responses to “Personal Liberties”

  1. Roger says:

    I can’t speak to the earrings, but peoples’ reactions to the beard are unpredictable. If I was looking for another job I’d shave it, I just have this subconscious idea that it would improve my chances.

  2. Matney says:

    Oh that sucks. That’s kind of why I enjoy the freedom of the store, and its lack of dress code. Oh well you gotta do what ya gotta do, and your still Corey. 🙂

  3. cae says:

    > If I was looking for another job I’d shave it

    And that’s part of why you’re a pro and I’m working for minimum wage at a grocery store.

    > and you’re still Corey

    Yup – not a damn thing they can do about that!

  4. KJT says:

    Reminds me of another Hastings moment – when they were bought out by another chain (whom I can’t remember) and we all had to go through “interviews” to maintain our jobs. I was told I would have to cut my long, luxurious, rocker hair. At that point in my life, footloose & fancy free, I told them to blow themselves (paraphrasing here) and I quit. Funny to think about it now, but I too have a bit of a unique beard & earrings today – which I would be loathe to part with. I sympathize with your plight. A man’s gotta eat.

    Congrats on the snoop-jobby-jobs.

    Let’s see a pic of your new pus.

  5. cae says:

    > Reminds me of another Hastings moment

    That’s right! I’d forgotten that.

    Ah, back when jobs were plentiful and I wasn’t so full of myself that I’d sniff at something like a part-time grocery store job …

Leave a Reply