Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Obscure Phobias

Tonight I watched a bit of Tosh.o on Comedy Central. I'm not a huge fan of Tosh, as I  find rape jokes to be in poor taste, but I couldn't reach the remote control and was too energy-depleted to get up and retrieve it. I knew that at some point one of my parents would come into my room and turn my TV off for me. I'm not above taking advantage of a temporary illness to engage in the simple act of laziness.

Anyway, while I shouldn't enjoy watching Tosh.o, not just for his denigration of victims of sexual crimes but for his overall irreverence and disrespect for many of society's weak and defenseless individuals, I cannot help sometimes finding him funny. (That's probably why I find him funny.) Tonight he was taking shots at ventriloquists. I dislike ventriloquists beyond a level  which I can rationally articulate.  When I was two, my parents took my brother and me to a ventriloquist performance. The entire experience exceeded my creepiness tolerance factor to the degree that I cried hysterically and had to be taken out of the auditorium by my father while my mom and my twin brother stayed inside and thoroughly enjoyed the ventriloquist's performance. Such was very typical. My brother loved mimes  and ventriloquists, yet was afraid he would be sucked into the sewer if he happened to be standing too close to (or, God forbid, sitting on) the toilet while it flushed. Go figure.

Daniel Tosh said that the technical name for a ventriloquist phobia is automatonophobia. Tosh, on the other hand,  thought that a fear of ventriloquists should simply be called "normal." I'm inclined to agree with Tosh on this one.

Learning the term automatonophobia inspired me to research other lesser-known phobias. One such phobia is ablutophobia, a so-called irrational  fear of washing, cleaning, or bathing. Is the use of the word irrational in the description of this condition not redundant? How would fear of washing oneself be considered rational in any sense of the word? Furthermore, a much more realistic phobia would be the fear of individuals with ablutophobia.  I certainly wouldn't want to be stuck next to one of such phobics on a crowded airplane or anywhere else.

    I don't know what particular phobia she has, but she clearly is suffering from one or more..

There is an actual word describing the fear of palindromes. The word happens to be aibohphobia. Seriously, who has time to make up such terms? Is this included in any volume of the DSM? If so, this is proof positive that mental health professionals are, in addition to in possession of too much time on their hands, more sanity-challenged than is the population they purport to serve.

Amaxophpobia has been described  an extreme fear of sitting inside any type of moving vehicle. I have a solution for individuals suffering from this affliction: time travel, as in back to the time before the invention of the wheel. The problem with my solution, of course, is that time travel would involve sitting inside some sort of moving vehicle, The cure is probably worse than the disease in this particular case.

Geliophobia is an [again irrational] fear of being around people who laugh. If person is paranoid, which is a  diagnosis in itself , and the person thinks he or she is the subject of the laughter because of ridicule, this is odd but understandable. Otherwise, as far as gelioophobia is concerned, what a miserable way to live.

Bufonophobia is an excessive fear of toads. I don't particularly appreciate toads, though I don't think my dislike or fear quite meets the criteria necessary for diagnosis of this condition, which is unfortunate, as I otherwise might qualify for hundreds of dollars in monthly income in the form of SSI money if it did.  I selected this particular phobia from the list of hundreds simply because it caused me to think of  the name "Joey Buttafuoco."

Believe it or not, there is an actual term describing the fear of people who are overweight. Cacomorphobia is the term. Australia actor Jesse Spencer, formerly of House and presently featured on Chicago Fire, reportedly suffers from this phobia.  Is it written into his contract with NBC or Dick wwolfe or with whomever he is formally contracted that he is not required to rescue any fat people  on Chicago Fire.?  Or dies he have no issue with fat males but only fat women?  Is it simply Jesse's excuse to surround himself with hot chicks? Exactly what might Jesse fear from fat people? That one might sit on him and crush his svelte body?

Chirophobia is a strange and unexplained fear of hands. My suggestion here is for a person suffering from this phobia to relocate  to the mideast, in particular to where people frequently commit crimes for which extremities are cut off. Not everyone in any locale would be without hands, obviously, as who would cut off the hands of the so-deserving if absolutely no one there were n possession of hands  but a far greater percentage would be hand-free than would be found in most pars of the word, save a few highly primitive leper colonies located on isles in the tropics?  (This reminds me of the old "Bob & Tom radio program faux soap opera [set in the mideast]  All My Children Are Missing Extremities which ran either before or right after The Guiding Shiite.

Hagiophobia is an intense fear of saints and holy things. In today's world, it should not be all that difficult to find places where few saints or holy things abound. I'm not buying into this one. In years past, maybe it was for real, but for now, one must merely stay away from churches (and even some of them are relatively free of saints or anything remotely holy), sanctimonious republicans, and the sort of Portuguese people who insist upon setting up shrines in their front yards.

Koumpounophobia is a fear of buttons.  My suggestion to anyone suffering from this malady is to buy pull-over shirts, sweat pants,  or clothing that zips or snaps. This isn't rocket science.

Medomalacuphobia is an [irrational] fear of inability to maintain an erection.  My thug school restroom attacker apparently did not have this condition. His was not an irrational fear. He really couldn't maintain his erection, or at least couldn't do so once I threw up in front of him. The most fitting analogy I can make here is that a person does not possess an inferiority complex if the person truly is inferior.  The thug really couldn't maintain his erection;  his fear, therefore, was rational. There are drugs that could help him with this problem, but for the well-being of the females of  world,  I hope he never gains access to any of them.

Hundreds of phobias have been listed, and probably an equal number have been omitted. See the site  for additional information. Not all phobias have yet to be identified or given names, nor do they need to be.  When my mom was in private practice as a therapist, she had a client who had an irrational fear of getting stuck in a drive-through lane at a bank, fast-food restaurant, or other place of business. My mother told the woman it would  cease to be a problem if the  woman would simply park her car and go inside the establishment to conduct her business. (Again, it ain't rocket science. Sorry for the use of the word ain't, Mom and Dad, but I felt like using it.) It would be better for the environment  not to spew exhaust fumes with one's automobile into the air we all must breather while waiting one's turn in a drive-though lane, anyway.

The list is so exhaustive that it must stop somewhere. Now is a fitting time and place.

"They're coming to take me away, ha haaah
         -- by Jerry Samuels, recorded under the name Napoleon XIV

#  the non-artist still known as Alexis


  1. I have a fear of mushrooms. It's called mycophobia. I wrote an article about it on Associated Content and you would not believe the number of people who commented or sent me emails. It's a weird but very real phobia. It's amazing the kinds of things humans are afraid of.

  2. I've never seen this show, but I imagine that it kind of takes on "My Strange Addiction" territory.

    I think I remember hearing that Honey Boo Boo's mother is afraid of mayonnaise, stemming from (what sounded like) a traumatic series in childhood. Something about her childhood babysitter used to make her eat mayonnaise. There was probably more to that story, or maybe not, but it's common for people to channel fear towards certain objects as an attempt to ignore the underline fear itself. It's not all mayonnaise products that Mama Boo Boo is afraid of, just mayonnaise itself.

    1. While phobias are no fun, I think in Mama Boo Boo's case, it's not a bad thing for her to steer clear of mayo!

    2. Mama Boo Boo would do well to add Shed Spread and/or real butter if she ever actually uses it to her list of phobias.

  3. My sister has a phobia of barfing. Being done by her or anyone else, full on panic attack.
    I pretty feet phobic unless you're my kid or husband, and don't even think of touching mine. Otherwise there's just the semi normal germ and car issues. Although my car issues are pretty pronounced compared to the general public.
    This was interesting. I wonder what my least common phobia is. I'll be on the look out.

  4. I suspect people who seldom barf have more issues with barf-o-o-phobia than do those for whom it's at least a weekly or monthly occurrence.

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