Allow me to preface this blog by saying that I realize fully that I have occasionally far too much time on my hands while on tour.
Amidst a hectic schedule such as Straight No Chaser's, one's mind wanders and one may think to one’s self, "I wonder how many beards I can count today." This happened to me yesterday while in the beautiful city of Portland, OR. I shall now present to you infallible scientific proof that there is a prodigious glut of facial hair in this city.
Having been to Portland last Fall, I recalled how many beards were out on display. 'Twas a place teeming with scruff and flowing with follicles. My mission this time around was to take a small sample of the city's beards and determine the peak hour at which the most beards could be experienced first-hand in their natural habitat.
As one can see in the legend of the line graph pictured on the main page, the x-axis (horizontal) represented the hours during which the study took place, while the y-axis (vertical) represented the beard count over the course of that hour.
A system was devised to award points based upon the dispersion of facial hair seen growing upon individual hosts within the population:
1 point was awarded for a full beard,
1/2 point was awarded for a goatee, flavor-saver, fumanchu, and/or mutton-chop(s),
Great 'staches were awarded the same 1/2 point,
2 points were awarded for a drifter beard, or dreard, which is a beard that inhabits the face of a drifter, of which there exists a multitude scattered about Portland.
No points were awarded to freshly shorn beards, stubble that could develop over time into a beard - such as five o'clock shadows - common mustaches, or noteworthy sideburns. Fake or fashion beards were thrown out completely of the study if spotted.
I will analyze now the hourly results of the experiment:
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM: First beard spotted in the Jupiter Hotel parking lot upon awakening.
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM: Twenty-eight beards seen en route to brunch at Zell's Cafe, within said dining establishment, and on the return walk to the Jupiter Hotel. Tyler served as assistant beard-spotter during this hour and enjoyed a delightful omelette of the create-your-own variety.
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM: Post-brunch nap. No real beards were witnessed during this time, although several existed in dream form.
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM: Post-nap email, Facebook, and journal session within hotel room. Only three beards were spotted from the hotel room during this hour, grazing lazily within the confines of the Douglas Fir Lounge's outdoor patio area. Commentary between beards regarding the work of Jack Kerouac overheard by the observer.
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM: Ten beards were seen driving cars, riding bicycles, or pushing shopping carts while we rode en route to the venue for sound check. Note: six of these beards were dreards. At one point, there stood bearded drifters (brifters) on three of the four corners of a particular intersection (3 brifters x 2 dreard points = 6 dreards total). This proved the theory that 75% of Portland's intersections are occupied at all times by brifters.
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM: Post-sound check drive back to hotel. Lone beard spotted smoking in patio area of hotel, unkempt. Viewing area moved from the Jupiter Hotel to Grendel’s Coffee House across the street. Seggie and Charlie facilitated the tally over espressos and discussions on drifting. Unforeseen viewing obstacles such as tinted car windows, glare, and stray copies of “An Inconvenient Truth” being tossed about in the wind hampered a fully accurate count.
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: After a dizzying 56 beards were spotted in the previous hour from Grendel’s, the observation forum returned across the street to the Jupiter Hotel. Great ‘stache spotted on host at hotel restaurant. Waxed at the tips, fantastic curlage. Prime vantage point from table overlooking sidewalk and intersection undergoing construction, much like a bottleneck in a river during a salmon run. A staggering 67.5 beards logged during the dinner hour with Seggie serving as assistant spotter. Delicious lamb shepherd’s pie.
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM: Eleven beards seen searching for refuge as scattered evening showers descended upon the city. Smell of wet beard fills air.
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM: Three beards spotted outside venue, one owning a girthy Labrador retriever that answered to the name Buddy. Brooding and mysterious. The beards, not the dog.
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Audience members addressed by observer between songs and encouraged to raise hands if serving as host to a beard. Estimated 25 beards viewed from stage, congregating predominantly on main floor level.
8:00 PM – 9:00 PM: No beards escaped during intermission.
9:00 PM – 10:00 PM: Much to the chagrin of the observer, a mere 5.5 beards remained for post-show meet-and-greet. Highlight: David Crosby look-a-like spotted sporting pink polo shirt. Graceful white handlebar ‘stache and chin dirt.
10:00 PM – 11:00 PM: Moderately sized contingent of beards (15.5) discussing favorite local organic produce co-op back at Jupiter Hotel. Portly bartender deftly serves drinks to noisy patrons while nesting family of birds sleeps soundly in bushy chestnut beard.
11:00 PM – 12:00 AM: Three beards discuss advantages of Toyota Prius over Ford Fusion around fire pit. Strains of anonymous struggling indie-rock band overheard on speakers. Observer updates beard graph on room door and retires for evening, exhausted after observing and cataloging 228.5 beards in 14-hour period.
Legal disclaimer: no beards were harmed in the tracking, tallying, and/or presentation of this data. All inquiries should be directed to the National Beard Board of Investigation and not the parties involved in this experiment. If you think you have a beard living in your area, consult your local barber.