Sunday, November 29, 2015

365 True Things: 245/Fear

I'm starting work on an essay about fear—real and imagined, reasonable and not. Me, I'm not afraid of too much. Certainly not the usual things: snakes (ophidiophobia), spiders (arachnophobia), blood (hemophobia), tight places (claustrophobia), ghosts (phasmophobia).

Of course, I've never actually encountered a ghost; perhaps if I were to, I'd develop a healthy fear of them. Unless, of course, my ghost was friendly, a possibility I don't discount.

Curiously, many people are afraid of clowns (coulrophobia). Well, maybe not so curiously: there are some very scary-looking clowns out there.

Public speaking (glossophobia)? Okay, that gets my nerves going, but I'm in good company: one in four in a recent poll cited a fear of public speaking.

That fear among the general populace is followed closely by a fear of heights (acrophobia), but that just makes sense: fall from a great height, and you die. Though I recall only one time in my rock-climbing career when I was petrified by a move I had to make, stepping out over several thousand feet of nothing on Lost Arrow Spire in Yosemite ☜ (despite the fact that I was securely attached to a rope and etriers). I eventually did it, after quite some coaxing. It wasn't like I had a choice . . .

Fear of flying (aviophobia), nah.

Fear of drowning (aquaphobia), maybe a little bit: I thoroughly respect the power of water. I do not undertake water sports lightly.

Fear of the dark (nycto-, achluo-, lygo-, scotophobia, take your pick): depending on where I am, yes, the dark can be scary, full of things that go bump in the night.

You'd think I'd have cynophobia—fear of dogs—given that I was bitten in the face by a collie when I was a child, but these days the only fear I have is for my dog when another dog is looking a tad too rambunctious, or large. My dog was bitten himself, by a German shepherd, and he does have cynophobia—or GSDophobia, at any rate.

The list of phobias is long, and many of them strike me as just plain weird: fear of the color yellow, blue, or green? fear of balloons? fear of buttons? fear of crosses? fear of love play?

Meanwhile, I do have one strong fear, these days, and that's of politicians. There is a term, politicophobia, but that's for an abnormal fear or dislike of politicians. I think we all have very good reason to be afraid of them in the current political climate.

But that's a subject for another day.

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