Thursday, 26 November 2009

Ikhthusphretophobia


Last night I was joyriding on the Docklands Light Railway. I made my way through the computer-controlled monorail, car by car, cruising for sentient beings, when I happened upon a copy of The Sun, which is indubitably the best-written newspaper in England. It had the words SLAMMED and BLASTED in two different headlines of a single page, which made me dance with delight. Moreover, The Sun was, I would wager, the only one of yesterday's papers to use the word ikhthusphretophobia, which apparently means "an irrational fear of aquariums".

Ikhthusphretophobia popped up in a heart-cockle-warming story about a chap called Toby Davies, 21, (in The Sun your age is part of your name) who had conquered his phobia of fish tanks so that he could keep his job at the London Aquarium.

Ikhthusphretophobia doesn't show up on Google. Not once. This made me a mite suspicious, but there's always the possibility of variant spellings in the transliteration from the Greek: the study of fish is usually spelled ichtyology with a ch.

I was googling around and found lots of people who were frightened of aquariums including several who want to give a name to their phobia. One fellow said he was worried that the fish would leap out of the tank and he would tread on them.

Also floating around the internet is the utterly unsubstatiated assertion that 73% of test-tube babies suffer from ikhthusphretophobia. I want that to be true. I demand that that be true.



Ikhthusphretophobics contemplating a goldfish

P.S. Any ikhthusphretophobic readers out there will be happy to know that Toby Davies, 21, was cured after only four hours of therapy.

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