There is this anecdote by Jerome K Jerome right at the beginning of "Three men in a boat" about the protagonist reading a medical encyclopedia for light reading. (Where is the damn straitjacket when you need it?). He gets more and more engrossed in the reading when he finds that he has every single disease listed in it, to varying degrees - the book almost seemed like his autobiography. At the end of it, he is rather perturbed by the fact that he has been basely prevented from claiming a perfect score by his body's recalcitrance to admitting to one disease - Housemaid's Knee.
Of course, at the end of it he wants some clarity about the situation and approached a doctor friend to see if anything can be done to save him. No doubt, he also wanted to take advantage of an attractive offer on coffins and cemetery plots, in case saving him was not possible. What happened after is not really germane to this post but, if you insist on knowing, the doctor advised him to eat a hearty meal and stop reading things that he did not understand. He, in order to complete his cure, went along with a couple of friends on a boat trip and inflicted this book - 'Three men in a boat' - on the world, thus forcing everyone without a sense of humor to pretend they found it funny.
I found myself somewhat in his position when I went to an event in Bangalore where writers honing their talent were reading out stories based on phobias. AND, would you believe it, I found that I had every single phobia that they spoke of. The problem, though, is that I could not see WHY these fears were at all called phobias. A phobia is an irrational fear, says the dictionary (or so people say but I do not know for myself since I have a phobia of dictionaries as well), and I found most of these fears entirely too rational. Take 'Sesquipedalophobia' for example. I mean fearing THAT word is entirely too rational, isn't it? So why then call it a phobia when you fear long words - for, after all, THAT's what that word means. (WHAT?? You do not believe that I have it, because of the sort of words I use? Well, 'long' is a word that means different things to different people. It is just that I am quite fine with three or, even, four syllables in my words and do not scream in panic at the first sight of a word with two syllables. You guys will do ANYTHING to deny me my achievements, won't you?)
There I was, walking out with Jean and Karthik, counting on all the phobias that I now possessed and dinner gave me yet another chance to brandish a fresh new phobia - Consecotaleophobia. Yeah - we walked into a Chinese restaurant and the first thing I saw by the side of the plates were...chopsticks. People who have seen me wield a knife and a fork find themselves out of breath gasping with laughter at the very memory of the sight. THAT, I assure you, is nothing in comparison to what I can do with a couple of chopsticks. (What was THAT angry face about? Oh! YOU are the guy whose eye I nearly put out that time? Hmmm - you have a mighty poor sense of humor if you are still fuming about that day). Tell me, WHY is a fear of chopsticks irrational? Especially for the 'angry-face' chappie from the parenthetical comment?
The problem with the world is that people, instead of going out and achieving something themselves, keep spending all their time in pulling down other people. What do you mean that a lot of phobias are the opposites of others and it is impossible for one person to have all of them? I am the guy who has both Claustrophobia AND Agoraphobia. Just because one fears closed spaces does not mean that one cannot fear open spaces. When in a room, I like to look out a window and be assured that there IS a world out there. THAT does not mean that I actually want to BE out there. It is like a lot of people liking rains. It only means that they like seeing it from within their houses, not that they want to go out and have all that nasty water drenching them.
Anyway, whatever people dispute or do not dispute, the one undisputed phobia I do have is Ergophobia. Anyone who has seen me in the vicinity of work will testify to it - and how profanely will depend on whether my fear of work will saddle THEM with the job of doing it or not.
To return to Jerome, he claims to like work, likes piling it up and looking at it, cataloging it etc - anything short of doing it. I like being more cautious. You can always find the way work is entering the picture by looking at the direction I am running away from. I leave the aesthetic appreciation of work to Jerome K Jerome and the doing of it to people with Ergophilia.