LXII – I Was Afraid of This

I’m pretty sure everyone is afraid of something. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t have some kind of fear. And it seems like for every fear of something out there, there’s a word that describes it. Some are pretty straightforward; others seem like they have absolutely nothing to do with said fear. This week, I’m going to look at some of these words. You will definitely recognize some. Others you may never have heard of before. No matter what, I can almost guarantee you’ll have learned something.

To start with, every word for a fear has one thing in common: its suffix. Now, for someone who really likes something, the word ends in the suffix –phile, such as the word pedophile: a creepy person who really likes kids, generally for their own sexual pleasure🤮. Then there’s the fears. The words all end in –phobia.

Let’s look at an easy one. Most people know what claustrophobia means. No, not like on SpongeBob SquarePants, where Patrick and SpongeBob thought it meant Squidward was afraid of Santa Claus. If you don’t get the reference, follow this link. Claustrophobia is the fear of tight, enclosed spaces. Another good one is acrophobia. That would be the fear of heights. I guess I have that a little, in that going to a really high place is very intimidating. You know the Stratosphere tower in Las Vegas? It has some amusement park-type rides at the very top, towering some 1000-1100 feet above the ground. Aw, hell no!

Think about someone who is arachnophobic. There was even a movie about it in 1990 (my god, nearly 30 years ago‽). One of my sons has this. Yes, it’s fear of spiders. I don’t like spiders, but I’m not afraid of them. Except maybe a black widow or brown recluse🤔. Those can be scary shit. Perhaps with the recent release of the iPhone 11 Pro, you’ve heard of the term trypophobia. Someone with that has a fear of holes or textures with hole patterns (such as this iPhone’s triple-camera array or the pattern of a lotus flower pod).

Sometimes the word for a phobia has nothing to do with the thing feared. Remember the creepy clown mania that swept the world about four years ago? Someone scared of clowns doesn’t have clownophobia; the word is actually coulrophobia.

There abound superstitions about the number 13, how it’s supposedly an unlucky number—the whole “Friday the 13th” thing, how many hotels omit the 13th floor or a room numbered 13. Did you know there’s an actual fear of this number? It’s called triskaidekaphobia. Speaking of fears or hatred of numbers, there’s also the number mentioned in the Bible, book of Revelations. The so-called “mark of the beast”: and its number shall be six hundred threescore and six. The triple 6 number. There used to be a highway in the western US nicknamed the Devil’s Highway. Currently designated US-491, up until 2003 it was US-666. Anyway, if you dislike or fear this number, you have what is called hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia (don’t even ask me to pronounce that shit!).

Know what’s ironic? There’s a word for the fear of fear itself (fear of being afraid?🤨) It’s just a weird word. It’s phobophobia. Did Pres. Franklin Roosevelt say that we should be phobophobic? After all, he did say we have nothing to fear but fear itself😳🤯. Hmmm, I can’t wrap my head around this concept—the fear of being afraid. Is that even a thing?

Even more ironic than this is that there is a word that describes the fear of long words, which is itself a long word (go figure that shit out). The word is…get ready…hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia.

I could go on and on about these. If you’re curious or insanely bored, you could go online and search for names of phobias. Some of them seem ridiculous (like fear of the color yellow or fear of dogs or cats—poor little canines and felines🥺🐶😿). But apparently all are as real as can be.

This post was short, but don’t be afraid. A new post goes up next week. Hopefully, though not extremely entertaining, this post has at least informed you👨‍🏫. Until we meet again next Sunday, be safe and be well.

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