The Worst Of Rick’s Space

Facial hair, and body hair, for that matter, mean different things to different genders.

Men want it — on their faces and especially atop their heads. A lot of men will tell you they like body hair, but usually those are men with body hair. Those of us without it are quite happy, thank you, though a little curly black chest hair to go with the Guido chain is never a bad thing.

It’s one of the oddities of life that although men are hairier than women, men lose their head hair more than women do. You rarely see a bald woman, but a whole industry has evolved marketing products to keep it from happening to men.

As puberty sets in, a young man’s thoughts turn to one thing and one thing only — hair. Specifically, when am I getting mine and how much will I get?

By the time we turn 13, we have already suffered the ignominy of watching some of the other guys who shave regularly. When I was in seventh grade, Tommy Raffinello had a five o’clock shadow by 10 AM — although he couldn’t tell time because he was only 17.

Women, I am told, go through the same anxiety waiting for their breasts to pop up, especially if the other girls in the class already wear bras.

I had peach fuzz on my face. Even though I had dark hair, my facial hair was transparent. In fact, no one could see it but me, but it was there. What was really depressing is Annette Buonicotti and several of the other girls had black whiskers hanging prominently above their lips and on their chins.

On occasion, I would slip into the bathroom and gingerly apply my mom’s eyebrow pencil to my fuzz until it was visible to the naked eye.

Once, my father walked in the bathroom (no, there was no lock) and caught me coloring my fuzz. “What are you doing wearing make-up? Girls do that.”

“I know,” I replied. “It’s about time I get a bra.”


In Frank Herbert’s brilliant science fiction series Dune, the world was ruled by huge bulbous Guild Navigators who were so cerebral that they required no body. Their essence was suspended in a bubble and they had the capacity to “fold space,” that is, travel great distances in a matter of seconds.

I tried to explain to my father once that these rulers were the author’s version of “god” — supremely intelligent people who evolved to the point that their bodies were no longer needed.

“Give me that book!” he said, grabbing it. “No wonder. This is science fiction! Jesus Christ!” Dad always exclaimed “Jesus Christ” when he heard someone say something stupid or annoying. To dad, all sci-fi was written by Communists.

My working theory is the combined intellect of every human being who has ever lived is in reality the concept we refer to as “god.” We don’t die at death, we simply enter the more spiritual phase of life — it’s kind of like AARP but you don’t need a card.

This lasts for eternity, or until Social Security as we know it ends.

This is why I do not feel the need to go to the doctor — because I am, strictly speaking, going to be a god someday. That and because I can’t afford my copay under Obamacare.


For the first time in years, Pope Francis brings his “Livin’ On A Prayer” tour to the United States. Tickets are available now through Ticketmaster. A limited number of “Meet and Greet” packages are available at each venue. They will include a five-minute face to face with Pope Francis, who will mumble something in Latin to each ticket holder, a specially designed thermal tour mug that will keep in the heat but keep out the devil wind, preferred parking, and an official tour T-shirt.

The itinerary includes the Guitar Legends Show at The Garden on November 16: Francis joins Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Buddy Guy to riff on some poignant remixes of our most beloved blues classics including “The Thrill Was Never Here,” “I Went Down To The Stations Of The Crossroads,” “Papa Was A Rolling Rosary Bead,” and “Mustang Sister Sally.” The tour will be streamed, available on Pay-Per-View, on closed circuit in theaters, and be released as a DVD. His Holiness, He Who is Without Sin, The Infallible Leader will leave NYC immediately after the show. In other words, Donald Trump will be due back in Washington.

Rick Murphy is a six-time winner of the New York Press Association Best Column award as well as the winner of first place awards from the National Newspaper Association and the Suburban Newspaper Association of America and a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee.

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