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The Beard

by
H. Paul Lillebo

 
"Madam Chair; distinguished guests:

Thank you, ladies, for your warm welcome.  The work you are doing could not be more vital and timely.  Your aim of demonstrating to the world how you and your sisters have been the victims of an ages-long male conspiracy of subjugation must soon be crowned with success, and the honor of that success will go to you.  I'm afraid it is under threat of death that I speak to you today.  I must ask you to pardon my appearing before you as a woman, but you've seen the ugly crowds in the streets.  It was only in disguise that I could get through.  If the mob realizes that I am actually addressing you, I have no doubt that we will see the doors broken down.  Since we are all at risk, I will speak quickly, and make my exit.

I've been called a traitor, and worse.  My family is in hiding.  I cannot go out in public.  Every male above the age of twelve would shoot me on sight.  During more than two million years of humanity, no man has done what I'm about to do.  But ... this is not betrayal!  It's salvation!  I will speak the truth at last, because you need to know.  The knowledge will make us free together.  ... Thank you ... thank you very much.

You have heard rumors of it.  Rumors of a Great Conspiracy.  Well, as I stand here today, in woman's garb, I confess it!  On behalf of all manhood I confess it.  What you've heard is true!    There has been a conspiracy against you.  From time immemorial, and I have of course been part of it.  I couldn't help it; I was born male, and had no choice.  God, I've said it.  If you could know what this has cost me the travail and self-doubt, the hundred times I have climbed these podium steps in my mind, only to turn back without speaking you might forgive my hesitation.  But I can't ask your forgiveness for our collective calumny, for the great universal Cabal passed from father to son, from uncle to nephew, through eternal time.  It has been unforgiveable.  But even more humbling is my admission to you that I would not be here today, there would be no revelation of truth, had your leaders not prepared the way with their perceptive inductions.  Their logic led to suspicion, and suspicion led to action.  Their work will rank among the milestones of social thought, and it has made this moment inevitable.  I'm honored to be the "traitor" chosen by fate to confirm your scientific work.  Mark this date.  It is your day of liberation.  It will shine through the future like a brilliant star. ... Thank you again ... thank you.  I see your good will in your faces, and it makes it easier for me to go on.

But I'm speaking in generalities, and time is short.  I want to get specific, but here's my problem: You see ... the great Grand Cabal, the Male Conspiracy, is so vast, reaching into every phase of my life and yours, that it takes four, sometimes five, years to pass full knowledge of it to a young boy.  Listen: You've seen them going off, fathers and sons, to baseball bleachers, fishing streams and duck blinds, or playing chess, and you've asked yourselves, "What are they doing?  How can they just sit there?"  Now you have the answer: Whispering. Learning. Conspiring.  Following a hundred thousand generations of fathers and sons.

And now you understand the meaning of the rites of passage from boyhood to manhood, celebrated throughout the ages in every civilization.  It has meant this, and only this:  This boy knows the Codes of the Grand Cabal.  For centuries, monasteries and universities honed and shaped the Codes.  In the rite of church confirmation the priest tested the boy's knowledge.  But, not long ago, the female intruded on these sacred and secret grounds, and the center of cabal theory moved to the workplace and the club.  You can understand why, as these bastions also began to go lost, labor leaders campaigned for increased leisure time.  To instruct the boy in the Cabal.  To find time for baseball bleachers and duck blinds.

... OK ... I understand your reaction.  I appreciate both the applause and the skepticism.  If you'll hold your questions, I'll take them quickly at the end.

I'll get specific.  Unfortunately, the Code is so vast that I can only touch on a small sample.  What I have chosen to divulge right now may seem an insignificant matter, perhaps, but oh, so symbolic.  The details I will reveal to you will illustrate the pathetic fears yes, I say fears that have powered this hopeless charade, and led us to this terrible impasse.  I will speak to you of just one Code of the Grand Cabal, one of the hundred and fifty codes in a boy's first year syllabus:  Code 24 the Secret of the Beard.

I stand before you clean-shaven.  In these clothes I had to be.  But I have my beard at home, and it fits me perfectly, as it should.  Are you surprised?  I am a bearded man, as you know, and yet my beard comes off??  Yes.  On and off, like a hat.  And not only mine, don't you see?  All beards!  Here's the incredible truth:  For four thousand years, with the exception of a small cadre in the Middle East, men have not grown beards!  Stubble, yes, about an eigth of an inch worth, but no more. ... You look skeptical.  But you're hearing God's truth.

It's not clear in the Code just what happened in the time of Hammurabi a stroke from on high, perhaps but the effect is clear enough.  All men outside of Mesopotamia lost the ability to grow beards.  Imagine the trauma!  Our very symbol of dominance over the unbearded sex!  The male Cabal already existed then, of course.  It had for millennia, but had mainly busied itself with routine tasks, such as purifying the historical record.  Now they had an emergency on their hands.  Something must be done.  I can't help but admire their ingenuity.  Think of it: Trade routes and supply lines had to be opened, and negotiations with Semites and Babylonians begun.  The decision to begin the millennia-long tradition of passing on beards was momentous, as was the world-wide coordination of the cover-up excuse the bad pun and the complex system of assignment by merit.  Yet the decision was made in a week.

... wait ... don't get excited.  Some of you look a little confused.  You were perhaps not prepared to hear this.  But think of it: You're the first women in all history to know these truths.  In four thousand years, few have even suspected.  ... Please, miss ... stay seated.

At the time of the "Abbartung" (sorry, I don't know what else to call it this monkish German term is the usual) the brilliant leaders of the Cabal could not have suspected how wildly successful their plan would prove.  From that time to now, priests and monks lately with computers have kept track of every beard, have controlled trade and supplies, and have filled requests from around the civilized world.  From dust to dust well, the man may become dust, but the beard goes in the church vault.  And who is the supreme head of the Cabal?  You should be able to deduce it.  That's right.  The Infallible Head of the last bastion of male dominance, God's vicar on Earth, the keeper of the sheep.  Why do you think kings and presidents bow to this head of the world's smallest state?  Because he has the power that matters!  How I revere that man!  His vow of celibacy sets him apart.  But even here you've been fooled.  What do you suppose it means, "celibacy?"  Sex-less-ness?  Ha!  That's a ruse, and you've all fallen for it.  The great Father sex-less?  Come now!  No, the word is from the Latin "caelibatus," meaning an unmarried youth.  Not a sex-less youth, but a beard-less.  this is the deep meaning of his vow.  He has foregone the greatest joy of a man.

... please ... If you'll hold it down ... I said I would answer questions. ... Madam Chair, can you quiet the disruption over there?  Please, I see that most of you are eager to learn the truth.  Don't allow yourselves to be misled by a small minority who have closed their minds.  Thank you, Madam Chair.  I'll go on, if I may.

I do not have time to tell you today of the wars that have been fought, the persecutions and pogroms that have been suffered, or the journeys of exploration that have been carried out, for the sake of beards.  One day you'll understand why the Spaniards welcomed the Moors, and allowed them to stay seven hundred years.  You'll know why they chased them out, both Moors and Jews, just as they sent Columbus on his voyage.  They were that sure that he would discover a new source.  You'll understand Columbus' heartbreak on reaching the New World, and the insane Spanish retribution against the beardless civilizations they found.  You will grasp the age-old envy turned to hatred of the Semites.  You'll hear of the failure of the Orient to establish supply routes, and the resulting racial inferiority complexes.  You'll even learn which famous men wore which famous beards.  Two of our Presidents wore the same one; I'll leave it to you to figure out who.

... well ... I must say I preferred the applause.  Look, if you don't want to hear it, I can stop ... But frankly, you should have been able to figure much of this out for yourselves.  Did you think the story of Samson was poppycock?  What have men worshipped for centuries?  Have you seen our pictures of Jehovah, of Zeus, Jupiter and Odin?  You cannot grasp the value of a magnificent beard to the male mind.  The truly fine beards of history are treasured by name, and the lucky men who have worn them have been venerated.  And no wonder:  for the beard elevates the wearer , and spurs him to undreamed-of heights.  Leonardo, awarded Earths's greatest beard in his dotage, the famous Imperial Amorite; would his name have echoed through the ages without it?  It's well known that without Lenin's admiration for Karl Marx's beard, communism would never have gotten off the ...

Madam Chair, I'm not sure I can be heard any longer ...

Very well, ladies, I'll stop.  In any case, I have to move on.  Just listen for one moment!  I want you to understand how much there is yet to learn, how many thousands of secrets there are in the Conspiracy.  Even the little subject I have dealt with today is far from exhausted.  I must leave it to you to try to interpret history in the light of what you now know.  Re-examine the meaning of the "Holy Land," of the medieval Crusades, and of the desperately suicidal Napoleonic and Nazi campaigns to connect with the bearded East.  Consider our own single-minded protection of our "interests" in the Middle East.  What interests do you suppose are meant?  It's not only oil and Bible stories!  In fact, if you read your Bible carefully, you may discover ...

Whoa!  All right, I'm done.  Sit down, please.  Please!  Please quiet down.  Madam Chair, would you control these ... What are they shouting?  I don't know what you mean!  Of course I'm not sent by the ... Why would they?  Please!  I'm telling you the truth!  Madam Chair, will you get these women off the platform!  I'm leaving.  Let me go!  Will you get your hands off me!  If you don't want to hear the ... Put that gun away!  You too!  Put that down.  Madam Ch..."

Bang.

... Bang!

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© H.Paul Lillebo 1988