Case Study of Affectopathy

Andy (age 58) and Fran (age 54), Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

andy and fran

For most of their lives, Andy and Fran did very little traveling: visits to relatives in Indiana for Thanksgiving, a summer outing to Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri and a trip to Disney World in Orlando. Then they booked a tour to Europe and a remarkable change occurred. They departed absolutely clueless and returned terminally sophisticated.

Here is a list of their symptomatology:

  • They left on vacation on July 7; they returned from holiday on 7 August.
  • They left shaking hands; they returned kissing cheeks.
  • They left wearing Hawaiian shirts and white tennis shoes; they returned dressed in all black.
  • Before they left, they would toss down burgers and fries; now they nibble fois gras
  • They used to answer the phone with “Hello,” now it’s “Pronto.”
  • They used to eat dinner at 6:30, starting with a salad; tonight they will dine at 9:30 and have their salad last.
  • They used to use dinner utensils in a normal manner; now they operate knives in their dominant hands to push food on inverted forks held in their other hands.
  • When the temperature would get into the 90’s earlier in the summer, Andy would hop in his pickup for a 2-mile drive to the local 7-Eleven for a six-pack of Bud; now, when the temperature gets above 30º (Celsius, of course), he motors 11 kilometers (or worse, 11 clicks) across town in his lorry to Bonjour Beveragés to purchase liters of water (water!) in green glass bottles from Italy or France or San Marino—wherever that is. [What ever happened to centigrade? -- Ed.]
  • Andy and Fran used to use efficient superlatives like “way cool” and “totally awesome, dude” when describing their journeys. Now they proclaim that their vacat… their holiday was “fabulous.”
  • They used to write in understandable English. But they sent a card (which they “posted” rather than “mailed”) to relatives describing the "colour" of the countryside, the "behaviour" of the local population, and how they thought the "theatre" to be just fabulous.
  • They used to be coffee drinkers. Now they are espresso aficionados.
  • Andy used to have his buddies over for a brewski. Now those mates get invited for a pint—unless all Andy has is that effeminate water in green glass bottles.
  • And finally, this overriding symptom of Affectopathy: This couple emerged from their European holiday not as Andy and Fran but as André and Françoise.

[Ciao. - Ed.]

Image courtesy of photostock/

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