Column: Recovering from cabin fever


Commentary by Lorene Burkhart

Despite its name, cabin fever is not a physical ailment but a popular expression describing our feelings of confinement after recent quarantines and isolation. This term was used by an author in the title of her book in 1918 and has continued through the years.

Another favorite expression used to describe our feelings of frustration during this time is “stir crazy.”

Growing up in southern Indiana, colloquialisms were frequently used in my community. Favorites at my house when it was raining was “it’s rainin’ cats and dogs.” Another favorite was “spittin’ image” to describe a child who looked like their parent. I remember my mother picking blackberries in the “holler.”

Different areas of the nation have their own unique descriptions and slang in addition to their dialects. It’s easy to identify Boston and Texas natives as well as the Deep South. Southern Indiana has its own way of speaking – Illinois became Illnoise and Indianapolis became Indanaplis. We always knew what was meant.

As I became a broadcaster, I had to “clean up my act” and learn how to talk Midwestern, which is the standard in broadcasting. Even Diane Sawyer, from Kentucky, got it right.

So, watch for the cats and dogs next time it rains!


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