The Tocqueville Connection

An eccentric Frenchman who goes by the name of "Crazy Eric" has entered the record books for the unusual feat of...


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France, Nov 12 (AFP) - An eccentric Frenchman who goes by the name of "Crazy Eric" has entered the record books for the unusual feat of carrying permanently about his body more than 1,000 useful objects.
    Dubbed "the human penknife," Eric has a psychological obsession with neatness and an ingenious line in clothes design.
    "It all began very gradually about 10 years ago. First of all it was a screwdriver, then a pair of scissors, then some snack-bars and a torch ... just in case," Eric says. He refuses to give his family name.
    But quickly the backpack which he used became too heavy, so he decided to "integrate my things about my person."
    The result is a sartorial tool-kit -- comprising a panoply of pockets, folds and attachments -- that puts any one of 1,300 items within immediate hand's reach.
    The number has been verified by the Guinness book of records which in its last edition grants Eric a slot as owner of the world's "most practical suit of clothing."
    Eric's outfits weigh 15 kilograms (33 pounds), 12 kilos of which are gadgets of every kind.
    Among his latest innovations is a Velcro leg-pocket containing a fold-up umbrella and a paint-brush.
    "I use the brush a lot because I often end up sleeping in odd places and this is the best way I have found for removing dust," he says.
    Elsewhere he carries a shaving kit, comprehensive first aid gear, a mini-saw, blow-up mattress, spare batteries, a change of clothes, water-pouch, water-filtering unit, soldering iron, tape-measure, digital camera ...
    Eric says his aim is not self-publicity but simply to be prepared for all eventualities.
    "It is like a doctor with his medicine bag. I always have my kit. But if I don't need something, I don't bring it. I used to carry a pedometer, for example, but I've just taken it off. I never found I needed it," he says.

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  FAMU01 SA21113A.HTM Wed, 13 Nov 2002 23:10:48 GMT     AFP

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FAMU01 SA21113A.HTM Wed, 13 Nov 2002 23:11:00 GMT