OK I said I’d answer your burning questions and so I am, though I’m admittedly starting off with an easy one.
The Bo$$ asked me how long it took me to grow this beard, but I’m not sure if he’s curious how long it takes to grow it to this size or how long I’ve had it so I’ll answer both variations. If I shave down to bare skin it takes around 4 months to grow it back out to its current length. My beard actually grows pretty quickly until it gets to about the point it is now and then it doesn’t seem to get any longer though it does tend to get a lot more straggly looking. When it gets straggly enough I’ll take the electric shears to it and trim it up a bit and then it’ll usually be another couple of months before I have to worry about trimming it again. It’s a very low-maintenance beard which is the main reason I have it.
As to how long I’ve had the current beard, I think the last time I shaved down to bare skin was back around 1996 or so. I remember it mainly because it was prior to my best friend Bill’s wedding and he and his wife-to-be wanted me to be in his wedding party. They sat down with me and we had the following conversation:
Bill: So, Dude, we’re going to get married.
Me: That’s great!
Bill: And we want you to be a groomsman…
Me: Not a problem. I’d be honored.
Bill: … But we have one request… We want you to grow your beard back.
Bill: Because, and we mean this is the best possible way, you look a lot better with it even though it’s a pretty crappy beard.
Me: (Laughing) Yes, I know. I’ll grow it back.
Which is the second reason I maintain a beard: Without it I don’t have much of a chin.
Bo$$ asks a bonus question: Is it true you have a brother named Wes? That must’ve been confusing growing up.
Yes, it’s true that I have an older brother named Wes. It’s worse than that, though. My brother’s full name is Wesley Roy Jenkins and my mother, for reasons she’s never been able to properly explain, decided to name me Lesley Troy Jenkins. Once folks hear about this the inevitable question ends up being: Are you twins? No, we’re not. He’s 6 years older than me and we don’t have much family resemblance. Was it confusing? Not for us, but it sure gave my grandmother fits at times and there were a few other adults who were always mixing us up which is really odd when you consider that we couldn’t have been more different from each other. These days my mother has the occasional bout of mixing up our names and that’s usually when I make a tasteless joke about her “gettin’ the Alzheimer’s.”