Wednesday, December 05, 2007


If you are lucky enough to be a member of the victorious team at the celebrated Rock Tavern Friday Quiz you win a free drink. You also win the dubious honour of setting the quiz questions for the following week. Last Friday I was amongst the victorious, which means that today I have been trying to think up suitable questions for this Friday night. The easy way, of course, is to turn to one of the many compendiums of quiz questions. And - if truth be told - this is what I do for the majority of questions. But I always like to throw a few of my own in amongst the longest rivers in Africa or the wives of Henry VIII. Who can forget the inventions of Cooper Kitchen or the precise location of Halifax Zoo? The truth is that most of the regulars at the Rock can, and when reminded of these somewhat obscure facts, they tend to throw things at me.

Today, my search for something a little different, a little more exotic, took me into the fascinating area of phobias. Whilst questions relating to the fear of heights (altophobia) and the fear of spiders (arachnophobia) are common enough, some phobias can give rise to more interesting questions. The chief amongst them, it must be admitted, are "who on earth invents these phobias?" and "what have the poor devils who suffer from them done to deserve it?".

Take, for example, the case of the person who suffers from barophobia (fear of gravity) or maybe chronophobia (fear of time). Imagine that you suffered from hadeophobia (fear of hell) and whilst trying to find salvation you came up against your hagiophobia (fear of saints) or even your hierophobia (fear of priests and sacred objects). I must confess I have a mild case of syngenesophobia (fear of relatives - have you met my Cousin Dave?), a fairly well-developed nosophobia (fear of becoming ill) and a pretty severe case of thanatophobia (fear of dying).

The best fears are the rare ones. Take aibohphobia (fear of palindromes - think about it) for example. Or aulophobia (fear of flutes). Or even deipnophobia (fear of dinner conversations). Come to think of it, I suspect I suffer from that last one.

At the end of the day I didn't include any questions about phobias. I don't like them very much. In fact I am a bit frightened of them. I must have phobophobia.

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