Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Today I found a newspaper cutting entitled 13 fascinating phobias. Some of them were perfectly understandable, like Peniaphobia, the fear of poverty and Ergophobia, the fear of work. However there were a few that were completely bizarre. For example, Linonophobia, the fear of string, Chromophobia, the fear of colour and my favourite, Phobophbia, the fear of fear.

Another one of the list is also probably bizarre, but it is one that I suffer from - Apeirophobia, the fear of infinity. It's not a major problem. I don't wake up in cold sweats thinking about infinity, but it does bother me and very few days go past when I don't dwell on the subject.

But my main phobia is one that, as far as I know, doesn't even have a name - the fear of chalk (calciphobia?). Like many people I hate the sound of a chalk squeaking on a blackboard, but my phobia is based on the absorbency of chalk and its dryness. When I go to the local beach I feel distinctly uncomfortable being so close to the towering chalk cliffs. Ugh! I don't even like writing about it. Luckily there are very few occasions these days when I come across a piece of chalk.

I have no idea how this bizarre phobia originated. Do you have any secret fears that you want to share?


Andrew MishMash said...

Hi Steerforth

The greed of commercial landlords means that after a long and dignified struggle Mishmash Bookshop has closed; and so London loses another quirky independent to the relentless advance of philistinism.

However it is giving me more time to concentrate on writing and reading blogs I like, like yours.

On calciphobia - for a well read european of an age I bet it's to do with bedtime stories. The wolf in the Three Little Pigs disguises his lupine voice by eating chalk; if you find yourself too concerned with the number three, or unwilling to enter houses with wood frames, this will confirm the diagnosis.

And you have been writing quite a lot recently about Ladybird books' artwork; I remember their Grimm's fairy Tales series well, they left little to the imagination.

That's £100 please.

Ain't Dr Freud marvellous?

Andrew Mishmash

Steerforth said...

Very sorry to read of the end of the Mishmash Bookshop - a lot has been written about how the internet and supermarkets have hurt independent bookselling, but very little about the exorbitant rents faced by small businesses.

After your nifty piece of psychoanalysis perhaps you should take it up professionally. I hear the hourly rate is very good and all of your patients fall in love with you.

superkitty13 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
superkitty13 said...

i'm afraid of chalk. likeyou, i have difficulty writing about it. i've just never met someone who had the same fear as i do. ufortunatley, i'm still in school, so its a problem. i can't stand to look at the chalk board. if i need notes, i borrow them from my classmates later.

I think i just don't like dry things.
i can't step on dry pavement barefoot at the pool, ater my feet have been wet, or paper after wash my hands. i don't like touching kleenex either. walls bother me too, if they're too scratchy. ick! it makes me squirm just thinking about it. Varnish on walls is a good thing.

Chalk is definitely the worst though