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A Case Of Superstition

March 19, 2017
Op-Ed and Letters

This Op-Ed was orginally published in the Hartford Courant on March 19, 2017. It can be viewed here

By John B. Larson


A man's beard has multiple connotations and evokes no shortage of curiosity and comment.

The beard symbolizes themes of: masculinity, virility, religion, health and even superstition. My beard was born of the latter. But before I divulge the reason why I grew my beard, I would like to share some of the comments I received.

My dear friend former state Sen. Billy Ciotto first wondered if I was having some sort of mid-life crisis. He further said that I looked like Maynard G. Krebs the famous beatnik on TV's "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" from back in the early '60s. He didn't think the beatnik look was congressional.

My brother Tim, the state senator from East Hartford, asked, "Are you auditioning to be Santa at Nordstrom?" Then it was Mark Shienberg, president of Goodwin College, who presented me with a bright yellow slicker. A direct reference to the Gorton's of Gloucester fish stick man.

More charitable reactions were discussions of Ernest Hemingway or even Kenny Rogers ... as in my case — you got know when to hold 'em and when to shave it. Those launching such barrages on my beard and peppering me with constant questions, however, were not onto the reason why I grew my rebellious whiskers.

The true motive was in solidarity for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots — a mere superstitious tribute to the Pats.

As I bore the brunt of others' barbs for brandishing my bristles, I knew that to shave the beard would jeopardize the Patriots' path to victory, put a jinx on them. So, I stayed true until that glorious Sunday in February.

I'm not saying that my beard won the 2017 Super Bowl, but it didn't hurt their record-breaking comeback of 31 unanswered points to win 34-28. As I relished the afterglow of helping defeat the Atlanta Falcons, I knew it was time to trim my chin. And not to mention, truthfully, the damn thing itched.

John B. Larson, a Democrat from East Hartford, represents Connecticut's 1st Congressional District.