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Musings from Moyieboy ...
Polyphobia is not a fear of cracker packing parrots
By Ken Carpenter

Over 2400 years ago, Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician who diagnosed and misdiagnosed more new afflictions than anyone in history, came up with a new one. Based on only two puzzling cases, he wrote that “men who feared that which need not be feared” were suffering from a phobia.

It came from phobos, the Greek word for intense fear.

These two patients were just tip of the phobic iceberg, for he found more and more after he started looking for them. He actually wasn’t the expert he assumed himself to be, for he claimed that irrational fears were caused by a build-up of black bile that overheated the brain. That doesn’t sound good, I think I’d rather have a regular old phobia.

One of his famous students, Aristotle, had a different theory. He thought that the heart was the seat of all sensations and the brain was a cold, bloodless part of the body that absorbed hot vapors arising from the heart. Later on in history this viewpoint led to blaming “an attack of the vapors” on any nervous disorder.

I have a personal fondness for “the vapors,” so I take great delight in using the term to describe people who get overly flustered by minor things. It could possibly be that minor things just overly please me.

It is estimated that eight percent of Americans, over 11.5 million people, experience one of the 250 known phobias. That’s some interesting trivia, but I doubt it is considered trivia by any of the phobia victims.

Number five on the top five most common phobias is Cynophobia, the fear of dogs. Over 75-percent of the humans suffering from this are women, perhaps because they associate unruly dogs with insufferable men from their past. That is not a medical opinion.

Number four is Agorophobia, a fear of open or crowded spaces. Needless to say, these folks are loners, and 2 out of 100 people have it. Many more than that can develop it instantly if they wish to skip a boring awards ceremony.

Number three is Acrophobia, a fear of heights, which 10% of the world’s population suffers from. I can certainly understand that one, when you are as short as me the top aisle at the grocery store can be scary.

Number two is Ophidophobia, the fear of snakes, and it is estimated that 1/3 of the world’s humans have this one. It probably started out as a survival instinct, and it is a great boost to the rubber snake business. Being responsible for a shriek of terror from somebody can be quite satisfying.

One of the most interesting fears is Omphalophobia. Believe it or not, it is the anxiety brought on by sight, touch or even the thought of belly buttons. Just think how these people would feel if they could see the three, dated jars of belly button lint that hold the world record for this substance. A librarian has been removing and saving BBL before his shower for so long he now has about ¾ of an ounce stored safely in three quart jars. It is hard to tell who is crazier, the Omphalophobe or the lint hoarder.

Alektorophobia is a fear of chickens and Anatidoephobia is the fear of ducks. In both cases the sight of the feathery demons can incite tremors and even spawn thoughts that the heartless birds are planning evil plots to harm the poor soul who fears them. It kind of makes me want to munch a chicken leg, and I’m not sure why.

The fear of holes, either tiny ones in food or larger ones of any kind, is called Trypophobia. It is said to be more common than you might think. Unfortunately, it also brings to mind another phobia.

Proctophobia, or Rectophobia if you prefer, is a fear of anything to do with rectums. It must be a horrible one to have, for it would literally poop, excuse me, I meant pop, up in some way every day. It is not clear if these poor folks also fear the planet Uranus.

Resting cheek to cheek with this phobia is Flatulophobia, the terror brought on by farting. Whether by oneself or by another, the sound or smell of a toot can cause so much horror that these victims may panic and flee their immediate surroundings. Bring on the Whoopee Cushions!

As with any subject in the world, there have probably been thousands of fake phobias invented for the pure joy of it. Get ready for this one, Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is said to be the fear of long words. It would likely bring tremors to anyone competing in a spelling bee, if indeed it were real. Thankfully, it is not.

I came across another phobia that I was eager to diagnose myself with. I think it would easily be number one on any list if, IF, I say with a heavy sigh, it were real. It is Dumasaphobia, the fear of stupid people, or dumbasses if you prefer. Since there is a website called Dumasaphobia that sells a great many items from T-shirts to coffee cups, it is easy to see who fabricated this bogus affliction.

In truth, I have a great deal of respect for these entrepreneurs. As a matter of fact I will soon be ordering one of their T-shirts. There will be one easily predicted side effect of me wearing such a piece of clothing though, as sure as sure can be.

I would bet good money that smarty-pants remarks would shadow me wherever I go.

“Hey, how can you live with yourself?!”

Unless I’m mistaken, you may hear more about phobias down the road. I have a fear of ignoring them now that they have their clutches around my neck. Call it the Nophobiaphobia.
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