Sunday, 2 October 2016

Phobias

23:13:00 Posted by Steve Rowland , , , , No comments
Phobias and Other Fears: Chopsticks, Teenagers and Peanut Butter Sticking to the Roof of Your Mouth
 
Phobia: noun. Definition - an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.
 
This got me thinking. I wondered whether I had a phobia. I wracked my brains. Spiders? Harmless skittering little creatures (unless falling on one's head in the middle of the night.) Birds, bats and other flying things? Not keen on the fluttering but hardly terrified to the point of panic like my daughter. Loud bangs? Annoying but not distressing. Clowns? Just not particularly funny. I concluded I hadn't got a phobia. There are lots of things I dislike, a few things I hate, and one or two fears, but no phobias as far as know.
 
However, in the course of my research for this blog post I discovered the most comprehensive list of phobias known to man.  Hundreds upon hundreds of them, seemingly irrational, sometimes trivial, random, strange and incomprehensible to the non sufferer, but each one representing a huge challenge to the phobic.
 
 
I wondered how on earth you would discover you had arachibutyrophobia - fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.  I know phobias shouldn't be ridiculed but at least that's one phobia that's pretty easy to body swerve. 'No thanks,' to the peanut butter.  Do not approach the jar, and, if you do, certainly do not open it, spread it on your bread, eat it and wait ominously for it to coat the roof of your mouth.  Stick with Marmite - like it or hate it, it's a far safer option.
 
Then there's chirophobia - fear of hands.  That's a bit more difficult.  Hands are everywhere, including on the ends of your arms. How on earth do you cope with that one? Is it just bare hands?  I wonder if it's not a problem when gloves are worn or hands are in pockets? What about one's OWN hands? Is it ok if you carry on using them but just don't look at them? Do you have to have a cook, a cleaner and someone to wipe your bottom at all times?
 
Given a choice, I think I'd settle for consecotaleophobia - a fear of chopsticks. I mean, unless I worked in a Chinese restaurant how often would I  encounter these eating implements in my daily life? If I just steer clear of Wok Wow's on my way home from a night out I'll be fine. I pondered on the genesis of a phobia such as this.  Does it just rear up one night as you're about to get to grips with your beef noodles?  Or did you once accidentally poke yourself in the eye with a chopstick when going for a sweet and sour pork ball.
 
I'm sure some phobias apply to the majority of the population at times. Fear of teenager? Yes, I realise now, I suffered from ephebiphobia for most of the 1990s when I had three of them in the house. I just didn't know it had a name.  Similarly, soceraphobia (fear of parents-in-law) could be quite debilitating in the early years of marriage. I swear it developed swiftly after one particular visit, where, unasked, they were vociferous in their criticism of the dark brown paint we were slapping on the walls (in our defence, we were young art students and this was the 70s after all). With hindsight, they were probably right, but the soceraphobia was hard to shake off.
 
Just as I am congratulating myself on being phobia free for years, I discover, with a jolt of recognition: 

Disposophobia - fear of throwing out stuff. Hoarding.  

Last week's blog post dances before my eyes..... 
 
My name is Jill Reidy and I'm a disposophobic. 

No poem this week out of respect to any metrophobics looking in.....

Thanks for reading, Jill 
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