Friday, July 23, 2010

Facing our fears: a survivor's tale

Ablutophobia- Fear of washing or bathing.
Mageirocophobia- Fear of cooking.
Proctophobia- Fear of rectums.
Nomatophobia- Fear of names.
Ochophobia- Fear of vehicles.
Peladophobia- Fear of bald people.
Teutophobia- Fear of German or German things.

Have any of these? Come on, do you? Who doesn't have just a touch of Teutophobia? If you'd like to check yourself against a really thorough phobia list, just follow this link to, oddly enough, the Phobia List.     

The subject of irrational fears surfaced the other day while driving with my ten-year-old daughter. During a casual conversation, she abruptly yelped, "Dad, spider!"

"Where?" I blurted out, as my autonomic nervous system launched into fight or flight mode.

"Right there. It's huge, Dad." I looked down and indeed, it was a spider, but one barely the size of an M&M (and not the peanut kind). That's when I realized that phobias do not discriminate based on size. They simply terrify those who suffer from them.

Acknowledging and facing our fears, whether irrational or not, is healthy. My younger daughter will readily cop to her arachnophobia. She suffers, however, from a couple other maladies, which she refuses to face, like her fears of slightly damp towels (moistaplushaphobia) and re-supplying the cat's water (aquafeliphobia).

My older daughter, the teenager, will be the first to admit her paralyzing fear of raccoons (raccoonaphobia, nothing fancy) and high waves (cymophobia). What she won't fess up to is her fear of being seen in public with her parents (embarraparephobia).

My wife, bless her heart, fears nothing, except possibly unencumbered idleness (stareatthewallophobia), a disorder from which I certainly don't suffer. She gets a little freaked out by crows, too.

Lastly, I'll admit to an irrational fear and loathing of rats (musophobia). I freakin' hate those creatures, with, as my teenager would say, "a fiery pash." I've experienced a singular, defining moment with a massive rodent, and I'd be happy to tell you about it, but some of you may be eating.

Actually, I lead my family by a wide margin in untreated diseases, such as fixthegateitis, obnoxia nervosa and are you gonna eat that syndrome

And last weekend, I think someone may have slipped me a see-what's-causing-the-leak-in-the roofy.

Sorry, I milked it a little too much.

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