Man with a beard

“Hello little monkey! How are you? Hi Barbara! What’s up?, Bam exclaimed.

– Hi! Fine, fine and you? Barbara echoed.

– Hi! Little monkey, Bam didn’t hear any answer. HelloOoO!

– Say hello, Imberly, Barbara insisted.

– Hi! Imberly babbled.

– How are you? You look very stylish! What a haircut! You look like a footballer! Bam prattled.

– Ahh! Ahh!, the little monkey laughed.

– Ah! You know, he’s always kicking a ball! Barbara commented.

– So, you need a beard to go with this haircut!” Bam hinted.

Imberly smiled and looked at his Mom. He knew Bam was joking, she always was. That’s why his Mom liked her.

“Oh yes! A little beard for our little monkey!”, Barbara joked.

They all laughed.

“What, darling?

– I can’t go home because I have forgotten my glasses on my desk, declared little Harry.

– Go back to your classroom. I’m waiting for you”.

Once the boy was gone, Bam went on babbling.

“I think he should grow a beard too…

– What are you saying! We’re too young!, reacted Imberly.

– OK. Then, Barbara, as we are the old ones, what about growing a beard and play soccer with Imberly. We’ll look super fancy!”

Imberly, half-laughing, raised his eyes to Barbara’s smile.

“You know… This new fashion about beard. It’s so funny. Many men start growing beard. Oh! Look! I’ve got a beard growing on my chin! Bam was fooling around joining her long hair under her chin. This is a curse! Look, it’s growing so fast!

– You are not funny Mum, everybody knows it’s your hair, added Harry with his glasses on.

– Ok. Everybody’s ready now? Let’s go home… Bam declared. Oh no! Harry, where’s your schoolbag?

– Oh no! I’ve left it on the bench while I was taking my glasses”. He started crying.

“Don’t worry darling. The school doors are still open. Hurry Harry and get it back” Bam advised.

Harry rushed to the doors. So… they still have time foranother little chat.

“My husband had a beard once. It was hilarious. It suited him quite well and I even had offered him a good trimmer for Christmas and he looked great! It really suited him.

– Oh!, really! I cannot imagine him with a beard. Interesting, Barbara mumbled in her beard.

– Yes. And, oh, you know…

– Mummy, when are we going home? Imberly was turning around her impatiently.

– Well, Harry is not back yet. He is usually very slow.

– Can I go and play soccer while we wait?

– Yes…”

Imberly dashed without even listening to the end of his mother’s series of advice.

“So, we are only grown-ups now as beards are a grown-up’s subject., Obviously…

– Obviously… So, it was mid-summer by then. We were both unemployed and as you know, summer is not the best time to find a job. So, we applied to jobs in the mornings, and in the afternoons, we were going to an amazing sand beach. Do you know Erdeven?

– No, Barbara regretted as the beach sounded stunning and she wished her next holidays would there.

– It’s a beautiful one in Brittany. We had our wedding pictures there. At the end of July, we went there with my mother-in-law and my husband announced he had a new job on the Island of wight. So, we had to leave early so he could renew his passport…, Bam pursued.

– Oh! I have to tell you this… My mother-in-law, in the early 2000s, had her computer asking for a new password, Barbara testified. She doesn’t speak English so well and she understood she had to ask for a new passport. She searched the whole house and finally found it and indeed, it needed to be renewed. And she thought, how do the company do that? How do they know I have to renew my passport?

So she went to the city hall and asked for a new passport. It took them three weeks to make the new passport and she was explaining to her boss she couldn’t work without her new passport. After three weeks, she finally had her new passport and was ready to work… But computers had mysterious ways at the time…. It did not work! Finally, her daughter came to visit and rescued her explaining what a password was! It wasn’t so long ago. We forget how fast we’ve been used to computers…. And passwords!

– That’s so funny! I can’t believe your story is true! Anyway, I have too many passwords to remember, I may as well use my passport number…, Bam suggested.

– We still laugh a lot about it! So you were saying….

– Yes, this also happened in the early 2000. Do you remember the summer of the European heat wave? Was it in 2002?

– No, I think it was in 2003.

– Oh! Yes! You’re right. So it was in 2003, and, I had been visiting friends in Rome, Bam went on. We had to wear long sleeves and long trousers in order to visit the churches and some policemen whistled as soon as someone put a toe in the Trevi fountain. Thanks God, we were allowed ice-creams… It was so extremely hot that we did not have enough water to wash; and my friend had taken me to a dark sand beach near Rome. She had asked me to stand 15 minutes lying on the sand to get tanned on my way back. I’m afraid I looked more like bottle of tabasco than like a bottle of Monoï…

Anyway… Meanwhile, my husband was still going on the Brittany beaches, no fearing being tanned as he had never tanned before on these beaches. But he eventually got tanned, because this summer was very unusual. He then thought that if he removed his beard now, his face would look bi-colour so it was safer to wait for this heat wave to go away, have his white skin back and then remove the beard for the new job. You see, at the time, it wasn’t so fashionable. Beard meant being a soviet or a terrorist. I let you decide which option is scarier… He did not know the people he was going to work with but thought it was safer to remain neutral.

As the summer went on, he became darker and darker, and his beard was increasingly bushy, even if he trimmed it as short as possible, not to look like a two-colour fool. And that’s when he had to take his passport picture. I told him he looked scary but he rightly said it’s just a passport picture; it’s just to know I’m the guy! So that was the picture for the passport.

A month later, he was employed by Offshore Challenges team, working for Ellen Mac Arthur’s English Transat. So, he worked on Sundays. His ferry arrived in Cowes and he looked for the place he was about to work on the quay. He saw a sign “Neighbourhood Is Watching” and thought, “great, we’re safe here”. A few moments later, he realized this wasn’t a sign of safety. Rather the opposite. Two policemen, who seemed to have come especially for him as the place was deserted on a Sunday morning at 5am, and asked for his passport. There was no spy password to utter in order to escape that situation so he just gave his passport. They thought he was a terrorist and brought him to the police station. And the first contact he had with his new employer was:

“Hello, I’m at the police station. They think I am a terrorist. Could you come and explain please?”

– So, I am happy fashion has changed and… Yes, proudly bear a beard so it will be more difficult for terrorists to recognize themselves and teach police a lesson about judging on the beard, concluded Barbara. After all, who knows what’s hidden in somebody’s beard?” She then read this from her phone: “Many feel that Mr Paddock’s advanced age, white race and non-Muslim religious background make it less likely to be tagged a terrorist, whatever may emerge about his politics” (NYTimes)

It is obvious that being less prejudiced is a matter of common security. Will terrorists teach us that or will they win by spreading terror among us and divide us?

Aurianne Or

– To know more, follow this link: A Most Wanted Man:

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Aurianne Or by Aurianne Or is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0