The great United Way hair battle of 2011 decided by a whisker

Oct 31 2011 - 11:08pm


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As I type this, it is 11 a.m. Monday. I do not know who has won the hair/beard United Way fundraising thing some idiot (columnist Mark Saal) dreamed up and another idiot (me) agreed to. This lets me write today's column in "real time," like some weird TV reality show.

Instead of getting booted off the island, the loser gets a free haircut or shave.

Which? You should know by now. There's a story in today's paper, and they were going to live stream the cutting. Full coverage should also be on our website, Go check it out.

If I lose, it will be the most public shearing I've ever had. I've heard of towns so small, people watched haircuts for amusement. I had no idea Ogden was this small.

Some observations: I am amazed by the generosity of you people. I am told the whole deal raised roughly $15,000. I had nearly $4,000 mailed to me. One person mailed $500. I hope Mark had similar amounts mailed to him.

I was amazed, as this battle of follicles went on, at the pro- and anti-hair attitudes people expressed. I can't count how many people assured me I'd look younger, as if I wanted to.

I don't want to. I worked my buns off to get this age. A white beard almost guarantees senior discounts.

There was potential terror. A friend said he shaved his beard, once, and his young son hid under the bed screaming, "Glue it back on!" I have grandchildren. What about them?

But it's mostly fun to see so many stepping up to help the United Way, which really is this community helping this community. If I get sheared for that, it's a good cause.

I am told the announcement is soon. So ...

(Two hours pass...)


Well, as you can see, I got the Big Trim.

Mr. Saal raised more money, but I am, as I type, getting more comments.

"You look 20 years younger."

"That's a good look for you."

"Trim the hair and you're mission-ready!"

"Yuk! Grow it back!"

"It makes your teeth look better." This was from our bearded cartoonist Calvin Grondahl, who thinks oddly.

"Will your wife recognize you?"

I don't recognize me. I hope our dog lets me in.

My younger son, Ben, said, "It's funny how much of your family peeks out from your chin. A little Grandma. A little Chris. A little Karen."

Chris and Karen are my older brother and baby sister. Neither has a beard.

Speaking of Karen: "That is as scary a costume as you could have ever thought of for Halloween!!!" she just wrote to me. Thanks, sis.

My wife?

"I'm anxious to feel it," she phoned.

"It's a bit scratchy," I warned.

"Maybe you could touch it up a bit?"

How? It's been 37 years. Soap? Razor? Pliers?

Elder son Jeremy, the disinherited and very hairy wretch who donated to Mark, chimed in: "You are Awesome Dad. You truly do provide your children (and now your grandchildren too) with an AMAZING role model just by being your wonderful self. I am honored to call you Father and I hope that I can be as cool as you are someday. It is a very big goal but one I look forward to spending my life trying to achieve."

All that from shaving? OK, kid, you're back in the will.

But I'm watching you.

Maybe next year we'll auction off YOUR hair.

Wasatch Rambler is the opinion of Charles Trentelman. You can call him at 801-625-4232 or email He also blogs at

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