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The Sum Of All Fears

 article about The Sum Of All Fears
The other day whilst observing my two-year old sister running terrified
from a large balloon that was bouncing playfully along the carpet
toward her, it occurred to me that the whole concept of fears and
phobias really is quite bizarre.

Are they inherent? Or are
they triggered by something? The thing that tends to intrigue us about
them is that they are often irrational. If you think about it,
logically, all kids should be scared to death of Father Christmas, or
Santa if youd prefer. He drinks. He practically breaks into peoples
houses. He likes the sensation of having kids on his lap, not to
mentioning watching them while they sleep. He dresses in all red like
some sort of overweight demon, and surely the fact that Santa is an
anagram of Satan points to sinister forces at work. If thats not enough
to provoke fear I dont know what is. But thats fear for you, often
irrational.

Take my top three fears for example

1. Being sealed in a big metal box.

2. The Sea.

3. Being sealed in a metal box and dropped in the sea.

How
likely is the above to happen? Doing a bit of research, I found the
above appears to be a combination of claustrophobia and thalassophobia,
which is a fear of the sea or ocean. A girl I know once revealed to me
that she suffers from a phobia of squirrels. Yes, really. This
apparently emanates from a vicious squirrel attack that occurred during
her childhood. This led me to recall how as I youngster I was always
fearful that I would fall into the gap between carriage and platform as
I was boarding a train. Im not sure what exactly constitutes a phobia,
but I was definitely afraid of that! Even now I have to contend with
the stares of puzzled commuters as I jump onboard just to make sure.
Better safe than sorry.

Squirrels and agonizingly slow deaths
in a confined space aside, peoples worst nightmares and most intense
phobias make for interesting deliberation as to how some people manage
to cope. Such as those who suffer with illnesses such as geniophobia,
apparently a fear of chins. How do you live with that? The geniophobics
must be shitting themselves at the rapid increase in obesity, knowing
that with every calorie the masses consume, somewhere theres a
gluttonous face giving birth to yet another chin. Its scary stuff,
particularly when you hypothesize.

How would Peter Parker (of
Spiderman fame) for example, have fared if he had arachnophobia? Severe
issues with his own body-image and possible suicide attempts Id venture
its tricky shooting webs from your wrists when youve been up all night
cutting them And what of Batman? Coulrophobia or a fear of clowns would
render him ineffective against the Joker, and homophobia would surely
prevent him from calling Robin in as back up.

However, there
is a tragic end to these tales of fears and phobias. A good friend of
mine had an extreme form of triskadekaphobia, which made him terrified
of the number thirteen. He went for an interview for the cashier job at
a local supermarket. During this, they asked him to write down on his
application form if he had any disabilities or problems that could
affect his work. By coincidence, unfortunately he also suffered from a
fear of long words, and so was unable to covey the severity of his
triskadekaphobia.

12 or so customers later, he was dead.



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