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Who Took My Syndrome? 

New phobias for our time

We ran a story a couple of weeks ago making fun of the mounting public phobia over avian flu and heard from a lot of readers who thought it was right on the money. It seems media-driven flu phobia is growing stronger every year and people have noticed. Of course, as Tara Servatius documented in an article that got national attention a couple of years ago, there's a lot of money to be made by scaring people into freaking out over the flu. But that's another story.

It's obvious the number of phobias is on the rise, but have you noticed there's also been an explosion in the number of "syndromes" in the past few years? It's as if someone somewhere is taking note of every deviation from normal behavior and giving it a syndromey name. Do you have a bad reaction to food containing MSG? Well, that's Chinese Restaurant Syndrome. Are you fat and sleep too much? Rejoice, for now you're no longer a lazy pig, you're a victim of Pickwickian Syndrome.

It's so much easier to blame a syndrome than take responsibility for things. For instance, some goofy neighbors once told me their mean-as-hell, compulsive-liar daughter had Inappropriate Response Syndrome or some such nonsense. At that point, I felt I was coming down with Beat the Spoiled Brat Syndrome, so I went home.

I recently did a little digging and found that syndromes and phobias actually vary in frequency and intensity from location to location. With that in mind, and inspired to write quickly by short deadlines due to an impending move to new offices (Relocation Syndrome's setting in), I prepared a list of phobias and syndromes that are increasingly common in Charlotte. They can be found in other parts of the country, too.


Scholasticsqueezaphobia: Fear of your child being crushed because his or her school is so crowded.

Wholelottotroubleaphobia: Fear of a state lottery.

Proballbrewslobaphobia: Fear that someone will spill beer on your designer team logo shirt at a Panthers or Bobcats game.

Head-oncollisionorhittheweeniephobia: Fear that you might have to move over for a bicylist while driving your car on a two-lane road.

Kamikazenixophobia: Fear that drink specials at the bar will be history by the time you find a parking space.

Nomusicisworththiskindofhassleaphobia: Fear that friskers at Verizon Amphitheatre will find the joints in your pocket.

Deadhummerophobia: Fear that the world will run out of oil before the warranty on your SUV runs out.

Jug-earednaziophobia: Fear of Sue Myrick.

LimitstobeingPCophobia: Fear that the cool new ethnic neighbors you've gotten to know will attract more and your neighborhood's property values will drop.

DownLowphobia: Fear that rumors of your being a closeted gay man will keep you from running for office.

Piercelockaphobia: Fear of getting your nose ring stuck in your girlfriend's lip ring while making out.

NoescapefromTexasbrownshirtsophobia: Fear that you won't have enough money to move to Canada or Europe if the right's grip on the country gets any tighter.

GodamightyI'mdrunkaphobia: Fear afflicting mostly Southern Baptists that a neighbor or someone in your church will see you entering or leaving a liquor store.

Iraqnaphobia: Fear of being trapped in a web of lies and not knowing how to get out.

Lowwageseverydayphobia: Fear of Wal-Mart


Cutesy Web Geek Syndrome: Condition that makes you continue to use emoticons in your e-mail even though you've learned most people find them annoying. ;-)

Deadly Wrinkle-hiding Scarf Syndrome: The belief that somewhere, somehow, City Manager Pam Syfert is watching you.

Boomer Bummer Syndrome: The practice of always accidentally hitting a rap music station when you're scanning the radio dial.

McCrory Syndrome: Pretending you have a real job at which you actually work in addition to your elected position.

Easier Than Busting a Knuckle Syndrome: The condition that makes police officers use tasers when they could just as well subdue a suspect otherwise.

South Park Nightmare Syndrome: An irrational fear that someone will show up at a party wearing the same dress from Nordstrom's.

I Said LoMein, Dammit Syndrome: The unshakeable belief that the restaurant gave you someone else's take-out order

Lynn Wheeler Syndrome: A state in which the patient is under the delusion that merely changing slogans will get people who once rejected you to welcome you back.

For Pity's Shake Syndrome: Condition that makes you go ahead and dance with someone even though you can tell he or she will be a serious clinger afterward.

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