News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 2, 2012

RONN MOTT: Hairless Wonders

Ronn Mott
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — I've been watching a lot of major league baseball this year. I've noticed many of the players have fuzzy chins. Not full grown beards, or even a “Van Dyke,” just fuzz right there on the point of the chin or under it. And I think, “why bother?” I just don't get it.  This whole thing of hair or no hair began with the Romans. They abhorred beards.  You can understand why … most of their enemies wore beards. Roman Legionnaires did not want to give the enemy a hand-hold on their faces, so they were clean shaven.  As for the rest of the Romans, they were very vain. They normally did what their leadership did. Most emperors of Rome were clean shaven. As a matter of fact, I believe it was Hadrian (1st Century AD) who was the first Roman emperor to have a full beard.  

The Romans took pride in cleanliness. They had baths scattered throughout Rome.  Some were very, very large and utilized millions of gallons of water. And at the baths there were barbershops. In addition, there were barbershops in every neighborhood in Rome, so it was easy for them to be clean shaven.  

Our founding fathers were clean shaven. So was George III, the King they tried to get rid of and, mostly, our presidents have been clean shaven ever since.  

And I'm sorry to say the fuzzy chins have not made the baseball players any better than the guys who have their naked faces hanging out there in the sun.

As for me, I think I'll stick with my razor. Maybe buy some stock in Gillette. Besides, my once brown beard has turned to glowing white. Nobody needs a white beard except Santa.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.