I have, in my opinion, a fairly nice beard. In the past, I switched back and forth from full beard to goatee to clean shaven and back without really sticking to a look for too long. For the last two or three years, however, I’ve stuck to my full (neatly-trimmed) beard. Today’s story takes us back to January of 2009. One day, while out and about, I stopped at a gas station to fill my gas tank, and ended up getting more than I bargained for.

Now, I mentioned already that I have a fairly nice beard. I hardly think it’s worthy of any great compliments, but it suits me just fine. The attendant at the gas station felt differently. I walked in to grab a candy bar while the gas was pumping, and as I approached the counter, the cashier (a young, lean Indian man with no real beard to speak of himself) looked up and greeted me. As he started to ring up my purchase, he paused, looked at my beard, and declared, “Hey, man, that is a great beard!”

After a short silence, I asked him to repeat himself, thinking that perhaps I had misheard.

He reiterated, “That is a really nice beard!”

Having now heard the same sentiment twice, I could no longer assume that I was hearing him say something other than what he said. What else could I do at this point but thank him for the compliment?

He finished ringing up my candy bar, and as he was placing it in a small bag, he gave me one final compliment…”A lovely beard, really.”

It is, of course, for this reason and this reason alone that I now maintain my beard.