Archive for the ‘fear’ Category

Do you suffer from irrational fears or phobias? Well – many of them are not all that irrational. Fear of flinging yourself off a tall building is probably not irrational, neither is fear of jumping in front of a moving train, or fear of leaping out of an air-plane sans parachute. But I’m talking about those kinds of fears that have no explanation; fears so bizarre that even the sufferer finds them ridiculous. I was watching a TV show one morning that dealt with that very subject. I think it was Springer or Maury or Oprah – no it couldn’t have been Oprah – maybe it was Doctor Phil. Anyway, this program dealt with people who not only suffered from the common or garden fears i.e. fear of clowns, fear of falling through the cracks in the sidewalk, fear of kittens, stepping into a pit of vipers that sort of thing, but did you know that there are people who are terrified of cotton balls? Cotton balls! It must be really easy to rob that woman – just come at her with a cotton ball. Someone else was scared of being attacked by teddy-bears. Would that be assault with a cuddly weapon? Sorry.


It started me thinking about my own irrational fears. By the way there is apparently a difference between a fear and a phobia but I’m too lazy to look it up so let’s just use ‘fear’ as a blanket term – although I guess turning the light switch off and on 40 times before leaving a room and patting the dog 10 times and not 20, and putting your underwear on backwards for luck probably falls in the phobia league, unless you are also scared to death of light switches. Fear of flying is probably a phobia while fear of being sucked to your death out of the window during depressurization is probably a fear – and a big one. And that reminds me of the movie Snakes on a Plane, have you seen that one? It has an entirely valid premise. The bad guys sneak a huge crate containing about a zillion venomous snakes plus a forty-foot boa constrictor on to a plane to polish off the good guys, right under the unsuspecting noses of the baggage handlers. Airport security must be going to pot at that airport. When certain flowers come into bloom right in the middle of the flight and while they are in the middle of nowhere out across the Atlantic or the Pacific or something [the finer details escape me] the smell so enrages the snakes that they burst out of their crates and proceed to reek horror and mayhem not to mention a few rather nasty looking bites on the passengers, who are comprised of the usual angelic looking kid, the flying nun [sorry], the guy with the guitar and the failed alcoholic ex-pilot. I didn’t like flying before I went to see the movie – now I can’t even get on a plane without my anti-snake bite meds and a jumbo box of anti-histamines.


Flying must be the all-time biggest fear for most people, followed closely by crawling through confined spaces in the dark, especially when they lead into caves with bats under mountains and that sort of thing. Even the sight of a plane gets me sweating but I hear that that is the sort of thing that psychologists do to get you through it – take you to airports and make you look at planes before bundling you aboard and having the pilot take off quick before you can fling yourself off the ramp. I am what is known as a ‘white-knuckler’, that’s someone who physically holds the plane up in the air by force of will alone, as the finger shaped indents in the seat rests can attest. Once on a flight to Europe the flight attendant asked me if I wanted “Coffee or Tea” – I thought she said “We are plunging into the sea” and was half-way into the luggage rack before she hauled me back by my seat belt.


I must admit that being alone in a house during a thunderstorm is not my favorite thing either. Forget those horror movies, it’s the banging and crashing and almighty flashes that scare me witless and drive me to the basement. My mother was worse – she would go all around the house turning all the mirrors to the wall on the premise that lightening would ricochet from mirror to mirror around the house like an electrical ping-pong ball before striking you dead, probably while you were in the shower.


Come to think of it most of us are scared of something or other even if it’s just the neighbor’s dog. What makes you cringe? And please don’t say kittens bearing cotton balls because I’ll push you under a ladder if you do.


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