Thursday, October 29, 2009

You're Afraid of WHAT?

BOO, samhainophobics! You shouldn't fear Halloween. But that's just my opinion (sorry if you have allodoxaphobia, the fear of opinions.) Read on unless you have sesquipedalophobia, the fear of long words. What subjects the mind to abnormal fears? Don't ask if you have psychophobia, fear of the mind. Jerry Seinfeld said the fear of public speaking, glossophobia, is more common than the fear of death, necrophobia, so at a funeral you’re better off in the casket than giving the eulogy. But what if the departed is to the right of the podium and you have dextrophobia – a fear of things to your right? And good luck at the gravesite if you're also a cemetery-fearing coimetrophobe.

What better time than Halloween to learn that not just vampires have phengophobia, the fear of daylight, and alliumphobia, the fear of garlic. Maybe you'll eat that but not peanut butter for fear it will stick to the roof of your mouth – if you have arachibutyrophobia.

Names of phobias keep up with the times. Computerphobia and technophobia have been added to the language. Surely we’ll soon be diagnosing Verizophobia (fear of cell phones), Friskophobia (fear of airport security), Aetnaphobia (fear of health insurance), and Lohanophobia (fear that cable TV will devote an entire channel to Lindsay Lohan).

Some things that the rest of us fear a little, phobics fear a lot. Hemophobia, nyctophobia, and atelophobia are the fears of blood, darkness, and imperfection. Of course, panophobes fear all three, because they fear everything. The whole enchilada and everything else in the restaurant.

According to the NIMH, people fear the IRS (57 percent) more than God (30 percent), dentists (58 percent) more than doctors (22 percent), and rats (58 percent) more than cockroaches (23 percent). At least once Halloween ends, a focus on fear will end, too. You’ll be able to put some of your worst fears to rest, whether there are names for those fears or not. Unless you have euphobia. That’s the fear of good news.