March 10th, 2006

The gentleman is always properly dressed

Encore, les Canadiens

I grew up with stories about "Hopping Frenchman's Disease," which was always spoken of as a rather extreme version of cabin fever that usually resulted in the deaths of a half-dozen men who got cooped up in a lumber camp with some afflicted soul during a particularly nasty winter. That it was a "Frenchman's" disease was generally associated with the fact that there were a lot of French Canadians who tended to get cooped up in lumber camps during particularly nasty winters. The thaw would come, and the camp's owners would come north to find the resulting carnage and necessarily be horrified.

Think The Shining, only without the literary aspirations. And likely, more booze.

And pancakes.

Seems that all of this may, in fact, be legend, probably cooked up by an actual sufferer of "Jumping Frenchman Disorder" who was tired of his bunk-mates shouting at him so he'd leap around uncontrollably for their amusement.

And before you go there, yes, I do have family who were associated with the logging camps around Moosehead Lake. I don't know of any instances of such exaggerated reactions to stimuli amongst my kin. They have told and retold the story, though, and I'm pretty keen on fainting goats, so take from this what you need.