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Sunday, July 24, 2011

To Every Man His Eccentricities

President Adams' hobby gets him
in trouble with the press.
 Life is tough enough. Each of us should be allowed one or two eccentricities. Myself, I'd prefer everyone have lots of eccentricities. What a lovelier world it would be if each of us had all these lovely traits, hobbies and interests.

And what do you know?  We do. Virtually everyone has something about themselves that would surprise their friends, family and acquaintenances if they knew about it. Perhaps they like to watch Abbott and Costello movies on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Maybe they collect toy soldiers or those wonderfully tacky commemorative plates. Maybe they whittle chess pieces out of old scrap chair legs or dress up like a Union soldier and go on maneuvers with Civil War re-enactors. 

We are made in God's image and He is, above all, the Creator. We need to do our creative things, for our sanity, if nothing else. If we do not, we become stale, pedestrian and lose the very thing that makes us human. One wonders if a great man like Winston Churchill would have been quite so great without his landscape painting or his masonry work. George Washington liked fishing and riding. Thomas Jefferson played the violin. Lincoln liked to play baseball. Teddy Roosevelt had so many hobbies and interests it's a wonder he found time to be president. John Quincy Adams used to skinny dip in the Potomac where he was once caught in the act by a female reporter who staked out his swimming hole. She sat on his clothes and kept him pinned in the bushes till he granted her the first ever interview of a US president by a female reporter.

Speaking of skinny-dipping, Lyndon Johnson once invited Billy Graham to swim au' naturel in the White House pool and the famed evangelist took him up on it. Johnny Depp, who you'd expect to do things like that, actually has a huge collection of Barbie and Ken dolls. One congressman admitted to being a professional wrestling fan and a whole bunch of presidents liked fishing and sailing.

Be an interesting person. Don't just work and watch TV. Get yourself a serious hobby. It may be a pain to try and find a place for all those boxes of toy soldiers you collected when you're moving across country, but, trust me, it's darn well worth the effort. It makes you human!