Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Something Other Than Divorce

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For the past 18 years I've gone back and forth with the facial hair thing. It didn't even occur to me to try growing something other than sideburns until I was around 26. This past year was the longest I'd gone without seeing my upper lip, and with everything else going on I figured I'd grab the razor and hack it all off. After getting a haircut as well I almost look respectable. Almost. So anyway, I figured I'd better change my picture here and on Facebook to reflect the current me. It seems to surprise my friends when I don't look like Charles Manson. I guess over the years they've gotten used to me looking a certain way and think of me with that look whether it's current or not. Facebook has been interesting with all the people from my past that I've virtually reconnected with, and the comments on my 'new' look have been most interesting from them.

One of them brought up a memory I'd completely forgotten... Picture a ward Halloween party, circa 1983 or so. At the time, I looked something like this:


Now some people in the ward were just a little uncomfortable with my presence at the Sacrament Table each week, even though I was usually better dressed than my peers, but our Bishop didn't pay them much mind at all. In fact, when someone complained to him about me one day (while insisting I shouldn't be sitting up there), he countered by saying something along the lines of, "Well, he holds the Priesthood, is worthy to be there, and he doesn't judge people behind their back." Did I mention I thought that Bishop was pretty cool?

We moved to Burbank five days after my tenth birthday. Our next door neighbors were the family of N. Kay and Jo Stevenon. My parents didn't go to church a whole lot while I was growing up so it was pretty convenient to have Mormons as neighbors who were also generous enough to haul my two sisters and me back and forth to church every Sunday (and this was even before the Sunday Block). Brother Stevenson and I actually got along pretty well (we even share a birthday, I think), and after a few years he was Bishop Stevenson instead (something I had long predicted). Bishop Stevenson was a graphic artist and worked from home. Ever see those trippy covers for 'My Turn On Earth' or 'Saturday's Warrior'? Those are his work. I used to spend hours talking with Bishop Stevenson. The rule was, if his light was on I was welcome to knock. There were many nights over the years that we spoke past 1:00AM about every gospel topic under the sun. This man's door was always open to me (though he had to close the literal one sometimes because my stereo was so loud he couldn't think). I'm active in the church today, in part, because of this great man.

So back to that Halloween party. Bishop Stevenson shows up in a huge black wig. Everyone looks at him like he's gone insane and asks who he's supposed to be, to which he replies...


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