Afraid Of A Phobia-Free January?

January 23, 2014 Alistair McHarg

Of all the months, January surely lays claim to the title of, “redheaded stepchild". Is there any month with such an image problem? The icicles which only weeks ago seemed to twinkle magically in expectation of fun, food, festivities, frivolity, and convivial camaraderie, now appear like menacing, pointed teeth in the jaws of a hideous beast intent on devouring us with short days, cold nights, bitter wind, and impassable roads.

These are the days when you realize that watching your microwave oven heat a burrito is more edifying than watching TV. You gaze upon the walls of your home expressionless as a doll, unblinking eyes the size of pie plates, looking for anything, anything at all to relieve the ennui and postmodernist dread.The author spends January eliminating irrelevant phobias.

If we are to endure this dark night of the calendar we surely must discover an activity that invigorates us, gives us hope, puts a spring in our watch, a song in our heart, and a twinkle in our eye so that we may steel ourselves for the remaining challenges standing between us and the arrival of spring.

Every winter I find solace in an activity which I now commend to you. It is rather like spring-cleaning except that it does not take place in spring. It is also unlike spring-cleaning in that it does not require the removal of any physical objects, much less the aggravation of folding the card tables that invariably accompany yard sales.

It involves metaphysical heavy lifting that won't do your unused muscles any good but will benefit your psyche. I refer of course to a psychological housecleaning, getting rid of out-of-date, irrelevant, pointless, phobias you may currently be housing, and have most likely been housing for years.

Obviously I do not know what your personal phobias are, so I cannot recommend which ones to eliminate. Instead I will simply give you a quick itemization of my own personal phobia housecleaning for January of 2014.

Xenophobia – I realized that it is much easier to dislike people I do know than people I don’t know, because the people I do know give me something to work with. Disliking and fearing people I don’t know seems like a lot of pointless effort, since I would have to make up reasons to dislike them. Xenophobia dropped.

Phobophobia – Now, to be fair, I am as fond of silliness as the next guy, even if the next guy is Throckmorton Umbrellastand, but enough is enough. The phobia of phobias seems like a cute idea at first, but after a while it's just annoying. I am no longer afraid of phobias.

Triskaidekaphobia – Yes, it's true that in some office buildings there is no 13th floor. You scan the elevator buttons, see 12 jump to 14, and wonder what the heck happened to the floor? I saw, at last, that this is just silly superstition. So now if I find the number 13 starting to worry me I just think of it as 12+1.

Agoraphobia - Easily cured by vowing never to revisit Athens.

You may quickly say that's only four phobias, not much of an accomplishment for an entire month of being housebound, wearing the blues like a lead overcoat. I would say yes, right, but it's important to leave something for next year.

APA Reference
McHarg, A. (2014, January 23). Afraid Of A Phobia-Free January?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Alistair McHarg

January, 25 2014 at 3:21 am

Hi Alistair! My phobia is ...I forgot the name, but it involves large crowds. I avoid them like the plague: it keeps me out of that lemming line that's on the way to the end of the cliff. My biggest fear is going to crowded grocery stores; my patience isn't there and I want to run over people with my cart or with the electric scooters the store provides. This of course depends on how charged up the thing is. The electric carts are a dice roll, I had one die in the lobby on the way out of the store. I suppose it would have been interesting if the thing had died in the store with a load of groceries in the small basket they provide. Then there's the danger of being run over by marauding children as they run down the isles willy nilly, but enough about fear of crowds. My niece recently mentioned one of her favorite stories about me. She stayed over at our house and couldn't sleep, so I took her to the grocery store with me. I generally went there around 11 pm. and mentioned I liked to go then because the place isn't as crowded. That has stuck with her. I should have asked if she does that now, but it didn't cross my mind until later. Enjoy the week and be safe with all the storms that are predicted for this week!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
January, 25 2014 at 4:29 am

Very interesting! Well, that's all the time we have for today, see you next week. ; - )

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