Eccentric (adjective): queer, quizzical, quaint, erratic, outlandish, droll whimsical (unusualness) Roget's Thesaurus.
Those who exhibit these qualities merit the noun "eccentrics" and we all have memories from our youth:
the ex-NHLer/dentist who has fallen on hard times, and whose hair and apparel shout claims of a troubled life for a brilliant mind;
the middle-aged woman who rarely emerges from her house, and then, only in winter garb, even when the temperature reaches 90 degrees (f);
the other more elderly woman who chases all young fry from her single apple tree, only to give the risk more challenge and excitement;
the young man whose accidental head injuries are disclosed in the surgical scar running down the back of his head deep into his neck, yet who serves his customers with honour and distinction in the local men's wear shop;
the pharmacist whose friendly greeting is part of the legend of the town who, we learn, the next morning, went into the basement of his store and ended his life with a single bullet;
the hockey coach who manufactured TNT by day, rebuilt his car by evening and put it all aside on Saturday morning to shepherd his young blades in their next hockey game;
the young, gangly red-headed youth whose gait literally "jerked" along the street, yet when speaking, he was the most gentle, sensitive and hurting and alone kid in the grade 8 class;
the church organist whose reputation can be summed: she played as much withher fists as with her fingers and feet;
another local musician whose fingers barely touched the keys, leaving her listeners wondering if she were truly there;
the trained operatic soprano whose Sunday morning solos were so incongruent with the rest of the service, leaving all wondering if she were in the right town;
the larger-than-life local doctor whose reputation for driving fast on rural house calls, and for hitting stray cows along the way provided prelude for his nude, midnight swim from cottage to summer resort bar;
the local attorney whose plaid shirts and high-cut boots bespoke an iconoclast, and a rumpled "local" while all knew that underneath was a brilliant mind and the largest heart in the county...and we all have our own list....
And these characters cannot be invented...they are far too precious, and far too memorable and far too unique ever to be forgotten....
we have become towns and villages of "look-alikes" and "sound-alikes" and "think-alikes" and if someone "sticks out" s/he is banished...especially if they are considered to be not "politically correct"!
Our children and our grandchildren need eccentrics for their nurture. They need individual examples of very different life-styles and philosophies! And when they find them, I hope they will let us know where they are!