The Blogging Parlour

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Beard Force

HeaderBeard

The beard is an integral part of the Special Forces selection process. The wearing of beards is discouraged in most military occupations because it interferes with the tight fit of a gas mask, but for Special Forces it is a badge of honour. It is what makes the difference between a regular solider and an elite member of the Special Forces.

Unannounced, in the dead of night, the Special Forces selection committee drags the candidate out of his bunk and forces him to stand to attention on a rainy hillside. By torchlight they hold him in place and dry-shave his face with their deadly, deadly knives. Then the senior member present binds the candidate upside-down and naked to a tree with handcuffs, consults the omens, and gives the candidate a stupid nickname like “Boz” or “Spod” or “Soap”.

Then, under the penetrating (and slightly awkward) gaze of the assembled Special Forces veterans, the candidate must prove his commitment to Special Forcesness by growing the thickest, most luxuriant beard and/or moustache he can. Then, using only his facial hair, he must pick (or, for bonus points, break) the handcuffs, then triangulate his position using the stars and his beard, and return to his barracks without alerting the guards. It is considered a faux pas, but not a disqualification, to kill the guards at the gate – they’re on the same side, after all. It is considered impolite.

By the first light of dawn the Special Forces members evaluate the candidate’s beard. Bonus points are awarded for size, luxuriousness of pelt, and impracticality. If the beard is judged worthy, his beard is inducted into the Special Forces, and the candidate along with it.

In the interest of equality, women are not barred from this process, and are allowed to shave the beard off afterwards, whereupon they keep it in a ziploc bag in their survival kit.

This post first appeared as a comment on Rock Paper Shotgun on January 31 2013.

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