Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tell Us: Who's Your Eccentric Character?

This is for all of you out there who are writing fiction. One of my favorite things about fiction is the random eccentric character. So here's some fodder for ya:

It’s not really a habit for many people in our generation, but I realize that there are some folks out there who enjoy canning. Peaches, pears, figs – you name it. So when I read recently about a man who keeps navel fluff in a jar, I assumed the article was referring to canned oranges… if there is such a thing.

Turns out the words “navel fluff” are actually the Australian way of saying “belly-button lint”. (See? Suddenly I’m bi-lingual.) And not only does the man have one jar full of belly-button lint – multiply that by three.

I’m not going to lie – the pictures are disturbing. The owner of the navel fluff, Graham Barker, has been collecting his prized possessions since 1984. But out of all the questions that entered my mind upon seeing the photo of the “fluffs”– the most disturbing question was, why does each jar contain only one color of belly-button lint?

Although the jars are marked by years (the collection is divided into almost 10-year increments), the first jar of fluff is white, the second red, and the third blue. Leading me to ask… did the man ever change his shirt during those ten-year increments?

You can see why I felt not only distressed, but slightly nauseated while writing this column. Apparently news of the collection does not cause all people to feel badly, however. Some people are actually using the navel fluff collection as inspiration for the upcoming holidays.
In the words of one commenter on Barker’s website, “I find [naval fluff] so rarely, it really is a joy when it happens. Like Christmas, really.”
Real Question: Who's your most eccentric character?

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