Don’t ever tell a man riding a bike in his underwear to grow up. It ain’t gonna happen.
After the world’s most important NPR breakaway and tactical team imaginary victory on Thursday, we returned to the Center of the Known Universe.
At CotKU everything appeared normal. Douggie had quit the NPR early and/or been dropped so that he could arrive at CotKU first and be the first one seated in the best place in the sun with the first cup of bad Sckubrats coffee.
Since it was 8:00 AM, the Manhattan Beach moms had begun to trickle in from school drop-off, trolling for bored yoga instructors. Several important business meetings were taking place where 50-something dudes in jeans excitedly negotiated billion dollar ideas that were “gonna be the next Facebook” and “already had Silicon Valley investors super interested” and etcetera.
The line was longer than usual, which means it was pretty long. I got my coffee and came out to the bricks. Major Bob was sitting there, characteristically, and still wearing his helmet, uncharacteristically.
“Well,” he drawled. “I might as well take my helmet off.” No one paid much attention until he did. After that, much attention was paid.
Major Bob had decided, and we’re still not sure why, to give himself the feared “circle beard.” There are few things in life that are truly self-explanatory, but this is one of them. Aside from the gasps, howls of laughter, incredulity, and immediate whipping-out of our personal activity trackers to memorialize this historic event, several things became clear.
However, the clarity didn’t really appear until the photos went up on Facebag.
What became clear was that Major Bob’s circle beard was really a very clever Rohrschach test designed to evaluate how you deal with unexpected events, because nothing could have ever prepared anyone for something like this, coming as it did from a calm, even-keeled, retired military man.
Here were the reactions, and they were instructive because each comment showed not simply how they viewed the world, but how people really viewed themselves:
- You are awesome. It is so cool that you can do funny things and laugh along, even if it’s at yourself.
- This is terrible in every way.
- You deserve to be ridiculed.
- I envy the fact that you are so carefree.
- I envy the fact that you don’t have to go to work.
- “You made a bad decision!” followed by “Why am I reprimanding a grown man?”
- This has made you unattractive as a sexual partner.
- You have become famous.
- I love this.
- You are courageous.
- This is terrible but it is also great.
- “What have you done?” followed by, after seeing other posts, “This is great.”
- You must now shave your pubic region.
- Jesus would not be pleased.
- I am now fearful.
- This is lol.
- I love you.
- I was afraid to post this on my own Facebag page.
- Major will be angry at me for posting this on someone else’s Facebag page.
- What were you thinking?
- You look very happy.
- [Misogynistic epithet]
- I will not desert you no matter how bizarre you look.
- You resemble a literary figure.
- I do not understand your theme.
- This has made my stomach hurt from laughing so much.
- You are retired, obviously.
Interestingly, no one told him to grow up. At least all of the other children pedaling around in their underwear understood that.