Q&A with physics teacher David James about his No Shave Equinox


Mr. David James Kyle Crawford / PHOTO



What is your title as it pertains to the story?
You know, Mr. James. We don’t have titles. There’s nothing; it’s a very humble group. We don’t bestow unneeded titles upon those who grow the beard.

When did you start participating in No Shave Equinox?
It’s not just No Shave Equinox—(It’s) equinox to equinox—because the equinox is just two days of the year, so it’s from fall to winter. I probably started at least ten years ago . . . Probably when I was first able to grow a beard. I had a beard for a couple of years straight, and then I missed being shaved, and then I missed having a beard, so it was a happy compromise.

What makes a good beard?
It has to be full. That’s the start, but any beard is a good beard. You know, if you’re willing to grow one, I’m sure it’ll be great, but I think the key is not to have a patchy growth of hair.

Why did you choose to participate in equinox-to-equinox shaving?
What I tell people is that if I don’t grow a beard by the fall equinox—the autumnal equinox—the earth will plummet to the sun. So I really do it to save all of humanity.

Since you’re a physics teacher, can you explain how your beard prevents the earth from plummeting to the sun?
There’s really nothing in physics that can explain this. It’s more magical than that. It’s very similar to how the Green Lantern’s ring will find a new Green Lantern after the death of a Green Lantern. So how does the Green Lantern’s ring work? I don’t know. That’s not really physics. So how does the beard keep us in orbit? I feel like it just does. I’m not willing to test it.

How heavy of a burden is it to save the world?
I don’t think about it daily, but it’s more of an honor bestowed upon me to have this beard that saves all of humanity. There is a southern hemisphere counterpart because their seasons are opposite. I’m unaware of who he or she is—I’m assuming he—but with us together, (we) keep the earth orbiting.

If the counterpart in the southern hemisphere was chosen but unable to grow a beard, what would happen?
You would have to be able to grow a beard to be chosen, or perhaps once the beard chooses that person, they would then have the ability to grow the beard. That’s all speculation, though. I’m kept in the dark on that. In case if I flip out, you can’t go and attack the southern hemisphere. One would plummet the earth into the sun. So it’s a need-to-know thing, and I’m not allowed to know that.

Is there an alternative way to save the world?
You can recycle, reduce and reuse. Those are your “three r’s”. You should probably reduce, reuse, then recycle. That’s probably the best order. That’ll save the earth. Buy a more fuel-efficient car. So there are several things that will save the earth, the environment of the earth. Because the earth is all a rock, it’ll probably be here for a billion years past humanity until the sun gobbles it up.

How do people who participate in No Shave November help in your quest?
I think they help in the fact that they are growing beards. The more beards out there, the happier society is. Bearded people always look honest—happy folk. You know, you have Santa Claus. He has a beard. You know, the Dwarves in general in Middle-earth, they’re always quite honorable. So I think beards just make people happy. It’s like a big bear, you know: bears have hair on their face and they’re cuddly.

How does having a beard affect your happiness?
I love it in the fact that it insulates from the wind. It provides warmth. It also saves me time getting ready; I don’t have to shave, so I save five minutes on my prep time before the day.

Is there anything else I haven’t asked that readers should know?
I think that readers should try to grow a beard at least once in their life. It’s an enjoyable thing. You know, Abe Lincoln had a beard. He did great things. He’s on money, and I think he did a few other things in the Civil War era that were important. Also, everyone—beard or no beard­, just a lover of beards— can join the Beards Team. It’s free. There’s a website. Just search Beard USA and you’ll find that site.