I wanted to call this essay "Phun with Phobias" but when I did an Alta Vista search for the string "phun AND phobia" there were 33 other people who thought they were being original or didn't phlinch at plagiarizing.
What started this whole thing was my phriend Deborah who wanted to put a name to her thing about snakes. As it turned out, the name was ophidiophobia. What if her phear extended to reptiles in general and not just the legless ones? Herpetophobia. Any animal at all? Zoophobia.
In fact, click on the essay title and you will go to a surprisingly long list of things that inspire irrational and paralyzing fear in someone. And a lot of those things are so commonplace that in order for someone to have developed a phobia about them, the phobic must have had some extensive enabling. How, for instance, is someone going to be able to get through the day without a close encounter with hair (trichopathophobia)?
Then there are others that are so esoteric as to be almost unbelieveable. Who, for instance, is likely to suffer from zemmiphobia, the fear of the great mole rat? And what the heck is a great mole rat anyway? I am unable to find any reference to the beast except in sites devoted to phobias.
Francophobia, the fear of anything French, is interesting. How would one develop a fear of anything French? Being terrorized by a poodle? Forced to watch old Charles Boyer movies? Beaten within an inch of one's life with a beret?
How about porphyrophobia, the fear of the color purple? Can you get that by being exposed to eggplant at too early an age?
Some phobias seem just plain stupid. I can understand not liking sour things, but fearing them (acerophobia)? Does that mean someone who suffers from acerophobia could be terrorized by a madman weilding a lemon wedge?
Some people don't like to think, but if you suffer from phronemophobia you find thinking absolutely terrifying. Not the mind itself, of course...that is psychophobia.
And on that note, I believe I will phinish this before I phind a phobia phor which I could become phond.
Saints celebrating feast days today include Saint Blane, Saint Clare, and Saints Tiburtius and Susanna.
Saint Clare is interesting. She was an associate of Saint Francis of Assisi and founded the order known as the Poor Clares, who were renowned for their poverty and austerity, refusing ownership of nearly everything and subsisting only on alms.
One of the miracles attributed to Saint Clare was her having "seen" a church service that she was too ill to attend. On the basis of this, in 1958 Saint Clare was made the patron saint of television. This is true. She is often represented in art with her foot on a turban or a scimitar (she defended Assisi against the Saracens). Maybe one of these days she will be depicted holding a golden remote control, a satelite dish cradled in her arms.
Arlene Dahl was born on this day in 1928 and Mike Douglas in 1925.