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He's a soul patch man -- and probably a trailblazer, too

Fox4 reporter Matt Grubs and his sprouting soul patch. Photo: Ed Bark

Television news isn't much of a growth industry these days. The economy is still too tough for that.

Facially speaking, that's pretty much always been the case. We've had a dozen or so mustaches and a few bearded laddies among D-FW's anchor and reporter corps. But has there ever been a TV newsman with an otherwise unadorned soul patch? Unless someone has conclusive proof otherwise, I'm crediting Fox4's Matt Grubs with being the first.

It's still relatively easy to miss, even though we may be reaching the point where a lawn service should be called in. No need to use a weed whacker, but a little edging wouldn't hurt. The above picture, from Monday's 6 p.m. newscast, is evidence of that.

Grubs has a nicely calibrated sense of humor, though. That's clear from his official Fox4 bio, where he says in part, "My life began like most do; dropped in a basket and floated off down the Nile until I came ashore in some reeds."

He's also been praised in these spaces as one of the better newcomers to this market. Grubs' understated delivery and deft way with words are plusses in a profession where the tendency is to over-accentuate the obvious and heavily salt it with cliches.

Asked about the origins of the patch in an email inquiry, Grubs replied, "Truth is, I'm a dedicated anti-shaver when I'm not working. The aforementioned patch grew out of a trip to Arkansas over the 4th of July. I had the holiday off and cheated the day before, giving me nearly a five-day head start on Monday.

"That and it's blonde, so no one noticed until it was about two weeks old. Several haven't noticed at all. I think about abandoning the effort every morning and would do so if told it had to go. Reason number one it's still around? My wife likes it."

Grubs says his co-workers enjoy taking shots at his patch, but "my favorite comment comes from my little sister: 'Quit playing with that thing. It gives me the creeps.' "

So there you have it. But what should Grubs do?

A. Keep the patch in play, but start shaping it like topiary before it starts looking like tinsel.
B. Let it run wild until Billy Gibbons tries to recruit you for ZZ Top.
C. Take a razor to it and then sell it on ebay by teasing, "As seen on TV."
D. Quit playing with that thing.