|Slang City Mail|
|January 24, 2008|
Slang of the Week: crank (noun)
1. epilepsy (archaic) 2. methamphetamine 3. an eccentric and/or irritable person
In 2006, Gayle began to suspect that hearing Sean Paul’s fast-paced song Temperature was the trigger for her seizures—an unfortunate reaction, since the song was in the top ten for 17 weeks that year. After extensive testing involving sophisticated electrode sensors and a garden-variety iPod, doctors at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center confirmed that Sean Paul was indeed the culprit, and Gayle underwent surgery so that she could enjoy hearing the dancehall reggae artist offer to “give it to [her] hot like a sauna” without fear.
I can think of a few people who wouldn’t be surprised that the Jamaican singer’s music causes seizures. But strangely, doctors say that these seizures are not caused by the rhythm of the song; rather, they are set off by an emotional response connected to it. In fact, another person with this extremely rare condition had the same response to opera music.
As for this archaic word to describe “the falling sickness,” as epilepsy was known in the sixteenth century, it was frequently used in conjunction with “counterfeit” as in the example from Harman above. His “A Caveat or Warning for Common Cursitors, Vulgarly Called Vagabonds” has an entire chapter about those who pretended to have seizures in order to trick sympathetic passers-by into giving them money.