Monday, November 27, 2006


Thanks to Lori & Mary, I can send my Tourette's humor into semi-retirement and focus full-time on making fun of a fresh disorder: Jumping Frenchmen of Maine. That's right, boys and girls, that's what it's called. Here is the definition from Wikipedia:

Jumping Frenchmen of Maine is a rare disorder originally described by G. M. Beard in 1878. It results in an exaggerated "startle" reflex, and was first noted among related French-Canadian lumberjacks in the Moosehead Lake area of Maine. It is not clear if the disorder is neurological or psychological.

The "Jumping Frenchmen" seemed to react abnormally to sudden stimuli. Beard recorded, for instance, individuals who would obey any command given suddenly, even if it meant striking a loved one, and repeat back unfamiliar or foreign phrases uncontrollably. Beard also noticed that the condition was often shared within a family, suggesting that it was inherited.

It's cruel and unusual punishment to even insinuate that this disorder is not fodder for mockery. Startle a Québécois woodchopper in a New England church and just see if you can stop laughing.

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