Photography by cheri sabraw
Eccentricity can be marked by the pets one keeps, the ties one wears, or the hobbies one develops.
Take William Randolph Hearst, for example. Not only did he collect valuables from around the globe to place in his castle high on the hill above Piedras Blancas, he also insisted that plastic mustard and catsup bottles be used on the long table where sat vaudeville stars and starlets. Never mind that he and Marion Davies lived in sin 2500 miles away from his wife. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.
What is left of his exotic zoo of bears and tigers is this lovely tailored zebra contingency, replete with striped suits.
I’ve known several eccentrics personally.
My step-grandfather, Harold, an obstetrician to the stars in Beverly Hills in the 50’s and 60’s was one such man, whose small manicured fingernails, natty tie, matching suit and jewelry, not to mention his new Mercedes every year, drove my Beverly Hillbilly Grandma Rosie to a bout with shingles that never really went away.
Harold took my brother Stevie and I to meet Zorro (Guy Williams). I’m sure somewhere in my scribblings here on Notes From Around the Block, I have told this story. As an avid Zorro fan ( I recognized handsome dark-haired men with bravado very early in my life), I almost died and went to Zorro Heaven when Harold pulled his Mercedes up to Zorro’s ( I mean Mr. Williams’) palatial mansion in Brentwood, next to Westwood, where Harold and Rosie lived. I dashed into the hallway, almost slipped on the marble, but not before taking my index finger and swishing several Z’s at the sculptures.
Then there was Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of Tony Curtis, who was a friend of Harold’s. Are you getting the picture? Since my mug above professes my grammatical acumen, I must clarify here: Tony Curtis was a friend of Harold’s. Harold delivered Jamie Lee.
My father Hugh, who was not an eccentric, but rather a “regular” guy, as he liked to muse about himself, thought Harold a dandy–a Primadonna of the first order–the kind of guy you want to take out by the barn, hoping he will slip in his leather loafers, loading them with manure. Then, as he tries to regain his balance, you grab his wrist and dampen his starched cuffs and diamond-shaped cuff links, with your sweat.
Then there is a man I know who has hundreds of ties, all filed by color and theme in his closet. When time came yesterday to finally, and I stress the word finally, cull old shirts, pants, socks, shoes and ties from his overstuffed closets, he was able to part with five ties. You read correctly: five ties.
When I ponder all of the eccentric people I have known, they are all men.
At some point in our lives, we must each ask ourselves the question: Am I an eccentric?
I study food labels and will only eat foods where the fiber grams are more than the sugar grams.
I pack my own groceries because I like soft fruits on the top and hard veggies on the bottom of the grocery bags that I wash every week.
I silently correct people’s grammar and take great joy in the act.
I check my bank account several times a day.
How about you?