Fear is a funny thing. Some people are afraid of some things. Other people are afraid of other things. A comedy writer will tell you that if you want to get a good laugh, start with the line, “What is there to be afraid of?” 

     Well, how about the dark? 

     Some people are afraid of things that you might bump into in the dark, like chairs set away from tables, or tables set away from walls, or a low doorway lintel, or that coffee table in front of a sofa. The coffee table is especially cringe worthy because, if you bump into it, you will bump your shin, and that really hurts a lot. These bump into fears are fears that you can overcome by just standing still in the dark.

     Other people are afraid of things that themselves go bump in the dark. These are different dark fears because unlike the tables and chairs and other inanimate bugaboos, these fearsome things are animated. Things that go bump in the dark are things such as ghosts and goblins or vampires and werewolves that come out at night and prowl and howl and are really fearsome. You can’t avoid things that go bump in the dark simply by standing still. You have to pull the bed covers over your head.

     Of course, there are many more things to be afraid of, depending on whether you are some people, or you are other people. Some people are paranoids. They have delusional fears that some unknown, undefinable prosecutorial or conspiratorial someone is out to get them. They smoke pot. They can overcome these fears by not smoking pot.

     Other people have phobias. There are a zillion types of phobias, from acrophobia, which is a fear of heights, to zoophobia, which is a fear of animals. You name it, and there is a phobia for it. As a writer my personal phobia is hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia which is a fear of long words.  

     Phobias can evolve with the times. For example, a newly diagnosed phobia is nomophobia, which is a fear of being without or out of mobile phone contact. No mo, get it? My wife has nomophobia. Anyway, there also is achluophobia, which is a fear of darkness, and that brings us back to where we began.

     We have talked about overcoming your fears by standing still, or by hiding under the covers, or by not smoking pot. But it is hard to deal with overcoming phobias. That is because in order to overcome phobias, you have to first be afraid of them. That means that you would have to suffer from phobophobia, and that would pretty much be self-defeating.

    So, it all comes down to figuring out how to not be afraid of anything. There is a psalm in the bible for that, called psalm 23.4. That’s the one where the psalmsayer says “Yo dude, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear nada…” 

     If you are not religious, then you will need to simply and resolutely decide that being afraid of something or other is not worth the attendant anxiety and nervous perspiration. You will have to just laugh it all off and flip fear funny. 

     That is mostly what I have done. Well at least for some fears. Otherwise, I sleep with the lights on and my head under the bed covers.

One thought on “Fear Flipped Funny by Edward Pontacoloni

  1. “Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia!” I LOVE IT!!!! I’m going to try it out on my writing critique group tommorrow and see how they react! Though, knowing me well, they will likely not be surprised at all, but that doesn’t mean I stop trying.

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