For the record, I consider a "rational fear" something that could possibly happen, and something I may be able to prevent: A car accident; an injury; food poisoning.
An irrational fear? Something's that not bloody likely to occur, but that I still put mental energy into: I might plummet to my own death after a sudden lapse in sanity that causes me to hurl myself off of a tall building.
I also worry that I might lose my sunglasses, jewelry, and/or car keys over the same building. I might also throw those things into any sewer grate. Because, what if I did?! Huh?
Think that's bad? Here are a few more.
1. I hate diseases that have no symptoms. Duh, I also have no symptoms! Help me pick out my casket, I'm a goner.
2. Choking at home, alone. This never actually crossed my mind until I accidentally saw an episode of 30 Rock, in which Tina Fey and another woman talk about how this is a single woman's No. 1 fear. On the word of a sit-com, I incorporated it into my list, and devised a choking plan: Run out into the driveway and hope someone finds me. I'll keep a "Hello, My Name Is" label right at the door, to grab on my way out.
When someone eventually walks their dog past my driveway, I'll be lying there, lips turning blue, and "Hello, My Name Is Choking!! " pasted across my forehead.
3. Peanut Butter. I worry that, after spreading peanut butter at work, I will not clean the butter knife well enough, and a coworker with a peanut allergy will die from my negligence.
I do not, as far as I know, have a coworker with a peanut allergy.
4. I never touch my nose while I'm driving. I fear that if I so much as scratch my nose, I'll be hit head-on by a Mack truck, causing my finger to jam right through my brain. The EMTs will then pry open the wreckage with the Jaws of Life, and declare the cause of my death: Picking Nose While Driving. I'd be so embarrassed, even if I were dead.
I'm not the only person that has irrational fears: My mother fears mile markers. You know, those little metal posts along the highway. "They'll go through my neck," she says, shivering from the idea of it.
Melissa hates icicles; she just made Joey go outside and knock them all of the soffits. Why? Duh, they'll fall off the house and impale her kids! If they don't fall through their bodies entirely, they will, at the least, lodge themselves into one of their eyes. They must go!
Stop now, stop that rolling your eyes! I know darned well you have irrational fears, and I want you to tell them to me right now! I'll factor them all into my own thoughts on fear and anxiety.
Or, at the very least, I'll feel a little less crazy. Power in numbers, and all that jazz.
Spill it, kids. We're all family.