As he so often does, just to insure that his progressive credentials are up-to-date, the Clown recently read a New York Times. In this particular edition there was a story about 33-year-old Attis Clopton, who suffered from an extreme case of aquaphobia. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this fairly common phobia, it is the fear of water. For most of his life, Attis was afraid even to put his head under the shower stream. Swimming, of course, was impossible. The story detailed the cure of this phobia, which was forcing himself to take swimming lessons. Very predictable but heartwarming, in a damp sort of way.
The Times journalist, N.R. Kleinfield, also mentioned at least two other phobias which are not so common, neither of which bother Attis Clopton, thank goodness.
The first was peladophobia, the fear of bald people. It occurred to me that those who suffer from this phobia must avoid PBS specials about WWII for fear of seeing either Eisenhower or Churchill or worse, both TOGETHER! They can’t watch the Simpsons because of Homer nor Seinfeld because of George. They are deathly afraid of any NBA game, also Sunday morning TV shows because pundit James Carville could pop up anytime (which also bothers the Clown some) and children’s Saturday morning cartoons on the off chance that Mr. Magoo may make a frightening appearance. While the Clown does not suffer from peladophobia, he does share suffers’ absolute dread of Dr. Phil.
The writer also mentioned geniophobia, the fear of chins. People with this malady probably wake up with night sweats after dreaming about being stuck in a small room with Jay Leno and John Kerry. Images of Disney’s Captain Hook must set them screaming.
A trembling mass of phobias his-own-self, the Clown, using his extraordinary journalistic research skills, looked deeper into the psychologist’s official list of phobias. After a grueling seven or eight seconds of Googling (used as a verb here) the phrase “Odd Phobias”, the Clown had an exhaustive and official list. Here are but a few that caught my attention.
Pogonophobia is the fear of beards. Pogonophobiacs should definitely avoid Croatian women.
Those who are terrified of belly buttons, Omphalophobiacs, should not apply for jobs in neonatal units nor dine in any middle-eastern restaurants where a a belly dancer emerges from the kitchen every hour, on the hour. Should a sufferer find his/herself in this situation, my advice is to avoid eye contact with the dancer. Making eye contact insures that she’s headed your way for a very up-close, personal and frightening interaction with her belly button. This advice is a corollary to the “Never Make Eye Contact with the Mexican Restaurant Mariachi Band” rule.
Consecotaleophobia, or the fear of chopsticks, is not rampant in the U.S., although rare cases have been reported in southwestern Minnesota and southeastern North Dakota, where “Asian food” consists primarily of La Choy canned water chestnuts added to chicken casserole recipes as they add “some delightful crunch, in addition to the topping of crumbled potato chips”, don’tcha know. The real tragedy of consecotaleophobia occurs in China where those who suffer this phobia have been known to shrivel away and die before the capitalist-running-dog-knife-and-fork-cure can be approved by the Central Planning Health Committee.
Medorthophobia is the fear of an erect penis. This phobia can reach epidemic proportions among middle school girls but largely disappears by, oh say, 1oth grade. It also manifests often among middle school boys, especially when asked to complete a math problem at the black board at inconvenient times. The phobia can appear throughout one’s life depending on the situation, the owner of the erect penis and who, specifically, might have to view or interact with it. The opposite side of this phobia coin, medamalacuphobia, prevalent among the senior-citizen set, is the phobia that drives sales of Cialis and Viagra, whose efficacy can, ironically, result in a severe case of medorthophobia, if you get my drift.
The list of officially recognized phobias, however, did not include several that the Clown personally suffers. I’ve had to name them myself. These include:
Polkaleophobia: Fear of being trapped in a stalled elevator with an accordion player.
Baggiophobia: Fear that airlines will charge me extra for my emotional baggage.
Pretzelophobia: Fear of yoga.
Twistiotadaphobia: Fear of balloon animals. (The Clown admits that this phobia has blunted an entire area of his professional development.)
Gibberishtiophobia: Fear of being strapped to a chair and forced to listen repeatedly to a “Favorite Scat Hits” CD featuring Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme’, Bobby McFerrin, Shooby Taylor and the Boswell Sisters.
Finally, my most troublesome phobia (but least likely to occur), Blogophobia– the fear that my blog will suddenly go viral and that I’ll be showered with offers from advertisers and large media outlets, resulting in stupefying wealth, fame and a regular guest spot on The View.
My palms are clammy at the mere thought. This, too, is frightening because I also suffer Chirophobia, the fear of hands, especially my own.
Observoid of the Day: In a country this big, you can find several examples of nearly anything but that does not constitute data.