The popular descriptor “Cajun” has checked into the Mayo Clinic, where it is being treated for extreme exhaustion, according to physicians at the world-famous medical facility.
A spokeswoman for the Minneapolis clinic said the overwrought patient voluntarily checked itself in for an indefinite stay earlier this month immediately after doctors there diagnosed it with severe exhaustion.
“Just like the people it describes, the word Cajun is extremely tough and resilient, but even the toughest and most resilient among us have a breaking point,” Kelley Luckstein said. “All words — even those synonymous with hard work and tenacity — can fall victim to clinical fatigue when overused.”
Luckstein cited a dramatic increase in use of the term last year following the record flooding experienced in the Baton Rouge area in August.
“Suddenly, Cajun was used to describe all sorts of impromptu groups: the ‘Cajun navy,’ the ‘Cajun army,’ the ‘Cajun coast guard,'” Luckstein explained. “And at the same time, you had a former sheriff’s deputy down there running for Congress with the nickname ‘the Cajun John Wayne.'”
“When Congressman Graves said FEMA needs to be ‘Cajunized,’ that was just too much for the term to handle.”
However, she said, physicians at the clinic believe the incident that likely sent the word over the edge was Rep. Garret Graves forcibly turning it into a verb.
“When Congressman Graves said FEMA needs to be ‘Cajunized,’ that was just too much for the term to handle,” Luckstein said. “The word tried to put on a brave face and stay strong, but after what Graves did to it, it was in serious need of treatment and remediation.”
Luckstein said the word gave the clinic permission to speak about its case in hopes of alerting the public to the dangers of relying too heavily on a single word to try to tie a particular, respected culture to countless entities and concepts in the hopes of imbuing them with credibility.
“The word has a remarkably high cachet in American society, so many people seem to think, if they can employ it in association with whatever they’re doing or selling — even if it’s completely unrelated to the Cajun culture — it will help them further their agenda,” Luckstein speculated.
Meanwhile, people in South Louisiana are disappointed, but not surprised, by the news about the beloved term.
“Just open the Yellow Pages and look at how many businesses that ain’t got nothing to do with food or hunting or fishing that use the word Cajun their name: contractors, concrete companies, you name it,” said Conrad Schexnayder, of St. Amant. “I bet most of them ain’t even run by Cajuns. Hell, I hired a company called Cajun Roofers one time to fix my house, and every one of the workers was Mexican. It’s no wonder the poor word is worn out.”