History of the Beard

Since the dawn of time, Man has struggled to resolve the inexorable conflict between chin and hair. Archaeologists have unearthed images from as far back as 20,000 BC that show cavemen (or "encaved persons" as they're now more properly known) building rudimentary face covers from pine needles and the congealed blood of saber toothed tigers. It is believed that these earliest attempts at beard crafting were in fact prompted by a desire for camouflage; ancient superstition held that if you could convince predators that you were merely a walking body with no head, you would frighten them away and be spared their toothsome, ravenous attacks.

However, a bearded chin quickly proved to have an evolutionary advantage beyond self-preservation, as hominids who wore these foliage-enhanced face masks found that they exerted a strange new appeal to members of the opposite sex. This phenomenon was enhanced if your face was furry enough to hold twigs and leaves without use of the foul-smelling tiger blood; thus, after just a few short generations of selective breeding, the first recognizable signs of what we now see as the modern beard began to emerge.

As Man progressed through the ages, the prominence and stature of a person's beard took on ever-increasing importance. The word for "pyramid" in Ancient Egyptian can be literally translated to mean "the upward-pointing beard of the desert," and the development of algebra has been directly linked to a dispute between a Phoenician merchant and famed mathematician Omar Khayyam about the number of follicles on an average man's cheek. Jesus himself is said to have remarked that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a non-bearded man to get into Heaven, and transcripts from the mid-1500s prove that the main reason why King Henry VIII of England so infamously dispatched the majority of his wives is that every one of them refused to grow facial hair, despite his ardent requests. Even Sir Isaac Newton's Principia ends with the sentence, "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the beards of giants;" a poignant note from the tragically clean-shaven physicist.

It is small wonder, then, that the beard-crafter has traditionally been the most valued of public servants. Those who have the skills to create the illusion of beards, either in real life or in art, have always been revered as having nearly God-like powers: Joseph and his technicolor dream beard, for example, whom the Bible tells us swept through the tribes of Israel bringing peace and beards to all who asked. Although art historians love to point out that the majority of the Sistine Chapel was painted by various apprentices and assistants, it is telling that the Pope specifically hired the great Michelangelo under the condition that "The beard of our Lord [...] be [...] painted by the primary artist and none other."

However, it wasn't until Joseph Robert Douglas's revolutionary breakthrough in beardology in the late 80s that the art was taken to a new level--the level of science. Much as the Gutenburg press revolutionized printing and the written word, Douglas's efforts in the field of beard provision allowed the masses to partake for the first time in the same bearding processes that had hitherto been reserved for royalty and the other privileged few. Like a modern day Robin Hood, Douglas and the dedicated workers at his company, CompuBeard, have put the tools for folical control into the hands of the Common Man and/or Woman.

Thus it is that the fates of Beard and Man move forward, inextricably entwined, to a brave new era. What will the future hold for the beard? What more surprises are in store for us as we travel along the path to perfect beardocity? Only time will tell; but, whatever happens, it is certain that Douglas and his team of professionals at CompuBeard will be at the forefront of modern beard technology, leading the way to all men and women who seek follicular happiness.Vive la beardolution!

Bibliography

EPIDERMICAL PROTEIN FILAMENTS by Colonel Zachary T. Fitzwilliams; 1776

A TRETISE ON THE SUBJECT OF THE AQUATIC APE HYPOTHESIS by Sir Gerald Humperdink III, esq.; 1914

THE BEARDLESS CHIN: A NOVEL by Jonathan Stephen Stevens; 1983

THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY-EFFECTIVE BEARDS by Gertrude Beardenstein; 1983

THE TYRANNY OF THE RAZOR by Barkley Spencer Wallidick; 2001