Fifth, don't bother investing in electric beard-trimmers. Dad's mockery contained the wisdom of the sages. Most trimming can be accomplished with a small pair of scissors. The trick, just as in cutting hair, is to keep the scissors on the same plane as your face. Never trim your mustache along the line of your top lip; instead, turn the scissors so the blades cut up and down, then trim across as if you're trimming a hedge. To thin out a too-thick pelt, simply run a razor lightly over the surface of your wet beard.

As our generation grows older, I hope to see some Martin Van Burens, William Howard Tafts, and Walt Whitmans distinguish themselves in the public sphere, until it's once again safe for a bearded man to run for the office of president. Until that time, I and my beard will remain vigilant.

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