Spelled backward, it’s raef.


There was a time in my life when I kept a little bag of phobias with me, everywhere I went. The short list of fears: flying; heights; spiders and all else crawling; thirteen; snakes and other slithers; storms. And probably more. But something happened in my brain, about 13 years ago. I misplaced that bag.

Honestly. I didn’t do aversion therapy, or any kind of face-your-fear therapy. No outside drugs or chemicals. The fears just sort of slipped away. I’m glad for it like you will never know.

Oh. But wait. There’s more. Things are not quite all-together here either. I will tell you that. I have some pretty big issues with OCD, if you really must know. I guess I fear the un-orderly. The chaos. The mess. Just call me Polly “Neat-N-Tidy” Kronenberger. That’s me.

But back to phobias. There are some very real things that people are afraid of. If you Google “list of phobias” you will see the blue-ga-zillion of them.

So we may as well start with one that could border any of us. Some people have a fear of having objects to their right. This is called Dextrophobia. They say it is a branch of the good old obsessive-compulsive disorder. On the other hand (no pun intended), levophobia is defined by fear of things to the left side of the body. I guess if I had to pick one, I would fear things on the right. Wait. Maybe I already do.

There is one fear that I had to work through, now that I think of it. Maybe it wasn’t so much a fear. Maybe just a challenge. Logophobia, is the fear of learning how to read. I learned to read at an early age, but it was always difficult for me. I couldn’t make sense of the words. As a result, I used to be a slow reader. Incredibly slow. In the past two years, I have pressed myself to read like crazy. Everything. This year, so far, I have read 20 books. And I just started 21. They are much longer than Cat in the Hat. All of them.

How about something you can sink your teeth into? Like Arachibutyrophobia — the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth. Apparently, this is a big one. Most people who have this one, also have a fear of sticky things, and a fear of choking. Personally, I kind of like the peanut butter phenomena. It is part of the wholesome goodness in the PBJ. The adventure in the sandwich. The little Kilimanjaro with the jam. Wholesome white bread adds to the uncertainties.

Okay. This is really not me. Arithmophobia. The fear of numbers. I am completely opposite of this. I love numbers. In fact, I pay attention to them. The time on a clock; the total of the check at a restaurant; the numbers that pop up on the grocery store register. They are very apparent to me. I do this thing where I add numbers until they reach their single digit. Did I mention OCD anywhere?

One more, on the scale of Polly. Ablutophobia is the fear of bathing and cleaning. Again. SO not me. I am the opposite here too. See the above references. Mr. Clean is my father. I drive my boats in the Tidy Bowl, with the little Captain Guy. Bars of soap — I have known a few. No fear of bathing and cleaning here. Nadda. Zilch. Vamoose. Singing in the shower is my Broadway.

But the truth of it is, all of us have our fears, or our quirks, or our worries. It is humanly natural. We get trained in the way of fear from an early age. And it sticks. Trust me. It sticks.

If you truly have no fears, or worries, or peculiarities, perhaps you should author a multi-million-dollar-best-selling-self-help book for the rest of us schmucks. I’ll put it on my reading list, now that I’ve gotten past my Logophobia.


“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones


“Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone