On a recent walk in Surrey I came across a gravestone of an apparently ‘eccentric’ major who, at his own request, was buried head first in the woods, in 1800.

Made me think about the difference between mad and eccentric.

In the dictionay eccentric is decribed as :

Mad on the other hand is described as:
There must be an outdated law attached to these terms, a bit like voting. It used to be that you could only vote if you were of a certain standing or had enough dosh. When they changed the law to allow universal suffrage, I believe they forgot to include the mad/eccentric classification, a lesser known sub paragraph of the old law.
In this old law of 1422, which still exists today, clearly, only those earning an income above £50o a year (about £5 million in todays terms) are allowed to call themselves, or be referred to as, eccentric. Anyone else who is seen as ‘lacking retsraint’ or ‘deviating from a conventional norm’ must be refered to as Mad.
Its the law, sort of.


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