Fellow columnist Mark Saal made spurious allegations about my beard on Sunday. Negative campaigning indicates a degree of desperation, but he should at least approximate the truth.
As you know, Mark and I wagered my beard against his hair to raise funds for the United Way. If the chart on our wager this paper ran Sunday is any indication, Mark is winning.
Good winners show grace in victory. Mark's use of slander is all the more dispiriting to those of us who thought he had some character left.
What did he do?
Mark used his famous "fictional self-denying accusation" technique to imply, in a roundabout sort of way, that his hair represents patriotism and America, while I grew the beard to hide from the FBI after getting involved with politically risky activities in 1975.
That's a lie. My politically risky activities were in 1970 and 1972.
I don't think the FBI still cares about me. Former director J. Edgar Hoover (who -- coincidence? -- died in 1972) took many secrets to his grave.
I still say I grew the beard in 1975 because of a girl I knew. In 1970 I was at the University of Florida when Vietnam anti-war demonstrations at Kent State University boiled over into shootings and riot. Students at Florida rose in solidarity. Classes were cancelled.
I went to a few rallies -- some had free food! -- but spent more time studying for an exam I was sweating. And drinking beer.
My 1972 activities were a bit more participatory.
I was just fired as copy editor for the Binghamton, N.Y., Press (copy editors have to know how to spell?) and had free time. Friends said, "Want to go to the big anti-war rally in Washington?"
We drove down and spent the night in a church in the seedy part of D.C. How seedy? Locals said not to go outside if I valued my life and take a friend when I went to the john.
I held it all night and slept little.
The next morning Congresswoman Rep. Bella Abzug, D-N.Y., a prominent anti-war feminist, screamed to us how bad the war was. We blearily agreed and marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, demanding the war's end.
And the war ended.
OK, it took another three years, but we did our part.
And now it's time to do yours.
Mark is telling lies because he's desperate to avoid a haircut. It's only a matter of time until either his disgusted wife or dismayed friends make him get a trim, so his distress at losing our wager is feigned, at best.
Are you going to let him get away with that? Of course not. You're going to make a check out to United Way of Northern Utah and send it to:
Save Charlie Trentelman's Beard
PO Box 12790
Ogden, UT 84412-2790.
Do it now. Friday's the deadline.
The director of United Way will announce the winner on Monday, Oct. 31, All Hallow's Eve, at 12:30 p.m. in the spacious offices of the Standard-Examiner off 2nd Street in Business Depot Ogden.
The public is invited to come watch. A barber will be on hand to trim or shave the loser right then and there. I'm told the event will also be streamed live to an anxious world on our website, www.standard.net.
Donate to whomever, but keep in mind who descended to calumny, character assassination and desperate historical revisionism to get your support.
Then remember who has a real history of marching for peace, freedom and the American Way.
Wasatch Rambler is the opinion of Charles Trentelman. You can call him at 801-625-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. He also blogs at www.standard.net.