Why don't I have a beard?

When I worked at IBM, I owned a small house in Yorktown Heights in the town of Yorktown

This house had more bedrooms than I needed, and so I rented out the rooms to IBMers, many of whom became my friends. One such friend is Peter Sweeney. Because of its relevance to this epistle, you should note that Peter still has a beard, as seen on his home page.

Peter and I have a friend in common, at that time a certain Paula Sweeney whose last name is only coincidentally the same as Peter's. Note that on her page, she is married and her last name is now Austel. This is good, not only because Paula and Vernon are great people, but also because it helps reduce the confusion of the common last names.

For some time, I had been thinking about growing a beard. Admittedly, my reasoning wasn't so much one of aesthetics; the truth is that I really don't enjoy shaving. It takes time and apparatus and I'm not very good with either of those.

Peter also thought it would be a good idea to grow a beard. Somehow, we decided that when our beards were in full bloom we should let Paula judge whose beard was superior. Below I take you, noble reader, back in time to when men were men and beards were beards.

Peter Ron

Notice the look of confidence on both of our faces? Quantitative analysis of our efforts would show that my beard grew faster and fuller than Peter's. An old adage goes

Quantity is no substitute for Quality, but it's the only one we have
I lost the contest in shame -- how can I ever grow a beard again?