Last week, I talked about a recent acquisition for my Lien Chemical Company ephemera collection, and talked about why I’m collecting items from that company (i.e. I was scared to death when I was a kid at the sight of their logo, which was practically ubiquitous at one time, leading to some very uncomfortable moments when we were out). I’m sure many of you found that strange, and you’d probably be right. I had a few irrational fears like that: Besides Lien, there were fire drills, water heaters in the bathroom, Emergency Broadcast System tests, and a few others that I’ve probably blocked out because they were so terrifying.
I think we all are scared of something that seems irrational, and that no amount of explaining can get people to understand. To some, those fears can seem funny. One day I was someplace where The Maury Povich Show was on the TV, and he was having one of his shows where he talks to people who have irrational fears, like being frightened by aluminum foil, balloons, cotton, mustard, and flowers. I know that he means well, because he has a psychologist on the show who offers to help these people confront their fears, and I think he tries to approach the topic with compassion and empathy. It bothers me, though, that there are members of his audience who find this hilarious. I wonder how many people write for tickets and specifically ask for tickets to "one of those shows with the weirdos that are scared of goofy shit." Or how many people record those shows so they can sit at home and laugh their asses off.
All fear is irrational, to a certain extent. Admittedly, some fears are harder to explain than others, like being scared of logos in the bathroom or rubber bands, but they’re very real to the people who are scared by them. It’s part of being human.