I watched a television show recently in which the protagonist — a detective inspector in a small county in England — had a fear of clowns. Apparently he could face all sorts of scary miscreants and murderers without the benefit of a gun (because he’s in Great Britain), but a clown scares the bejesus out of him. Since he is the chief detective in a small English village where at least three people are brutally murdered every episode, it seems he should have more to worry about than clowns.
I’m not expressing doubt. Phobias are inexplicable and largely incurable. I should know. I have them myself. I’ve no fear of clowns, though. I never really found them amusing. Frankly, I always found them mostly annoying. But I understand that coulrophobia (fear of clowns) is a thing.
I’m a fearful person by nature. For example, I don’t particularly like heights. If I’m in a very tall building, I would prefer to not look outside. But looking outside doesn’t cause heart palpitations, and I can generally talk myself into taking a peek. Likewise, I don’t particularly like closed spaces, but I don’t hyperventilate in elevator. So I guess I wouldn’t call them phobias.
What does cause me to hyperventilate is glossophobia. No, this isn’t a fear of lipstick. Glossophobia is a fear of public speaking. Despite the fact that I was a communicator when I worked hard for my money, I resisted public speaking. It was forced upon me on a couple of occasions. The one that sticks in my mind like a bad nightmare was the one and only time I was asked to testify before a legislative committee. My voice was shaking so much that the committee chair kindly came to my rescue.
Another fear I have that I would classify as a phobia is emetophobia, or the fear of vomiting or seeing others vomit. I. Can’t. Handle. Puking. God was good to me as I reared my child. While he vomited as much as any normal kid, he almost always did it over at his dad’s house so that his stepmother had to clean it up. Ha. While in grade school, there were kids who would volunteer to clean up vomit so that they could get out of class. I would rather recite my multiplication tables than look at vomit.
I did some research to see what other kinds of phobias exist in the world, and my emetophobia doesn’t seem so weird. It’s rather normal when you consider that some people have arachibutyrophobia. When I saw the word, I assumed it would be a fear of something to do with spiders. Alas, there are people in this world who fear peanut butter. Yes, friends, there are arachibutyrophobiacs. My mother detested the taste of peanut butter, but I never saw her scream if someone offered her a peanut butter cookie.
Hippopotomonstrosequippedaliophobia is one of the longest words in the dictionary. Ironically, it is the name for a fear of long words. Hand to God, that’s what I read. Despite the fact that the internet is never wrong, the American Psychiatric Association doesn’t officially recognize this phobia.
I, along with the Shrinks, think hippopotomonstrosequippedaliophobia is a bunch of bullshit. Oops. Kakologophobiacs won’t like what I just said, because they have a phobia of swear words.