Once, there was a man who smoked cigarette butts he picked up off of the street. There was another person who wore dirty clothes even though he bathed compulsively. Nowadays there’s a man who regularly attends his job in a ratty, torn-up sweatshirt. Finally, there is a person who always tries to walk inside the lines on tiled floors.
All these people may be considered freaks, but the one who wears an old sweatshirt to work is Bill Belichick, the head coach of the New England Patriots NFL football team, and the only NFL head coach to win three Super Bowls in four seasons. The person who didn’t mind dirty clothes although he washed often was Ludwig Van Beethoven, widely considered one of the greatest composers of all time. And the man who smoked cigarettes off of the ground was Albert Einstein, Nobel Prize winner and Time Magazine’s person of the century in 1999. After you know who they are they are considered great. But before people knew who they were they were just eccentrics. I believe in eccentrics.
I believe that eccentricity is the foundation of individuality. The differences in our personalities are all the small quirks and unusual habits that make people really different from one another. They aren’t always glaring or very strange but can be as simple as the method a person tends to greet others or how they search for a lost item. Everyone does these things, but no one does them exactly the same. Many people do them similarly to everyone else, but it is those who do them with extra flair that are remembered. Those people aren’t the only eccentrics, but they are the people who let their eccentricity shine, and thus prove its value.
There’s a girl who attends my school who makes her own clothes. Not because she has to, simply because she wants to look different. In that, I believe. It takes that type of person who dares to be different to start a new world-wide fashion craze. It isn’t always a highly paid fashion designer who invents hot styles, but sometimes it is just a person who is confident in their appearance. If it weren’t for eccentrics we might still dress the way humans dressed ages ago. Another obvious creation of eccentrics is the slang we use so frequently today. Someone had to speak in a way no one was familiar with to create this new mosaic of speech.
Inside everyone has a little eccentricity. However, in our current culture it is easier to be a part of the crowd and try to dress and act like everyone else does. As a group, humanity needs to begin to celebrate the individual panache of each person. By the way, if you’re still wondering who the person was who walked in between the lines of tiled floors, that was me, and I hope to join the list of other great eccentrics.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.