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May 17, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Danke, Sigmund

“Just relax now, it’ll feel like a bee sting…”
“Nooooo! I hate bee stings!”

Phobias. Let’s face it, they’ve run away from us. It’s possible today to harbour an irrational fear of anything in existence. I’ll admit there are phobias out there that cover the obscure and the ridiculous; fear of old people, bridges, being out of mobile range. But c’mon, surely we can justify our inadequacies and tiny fears. For example, I think it is perfectly rational to be petrified of bees.

I wasn’t always afraid of bees. In fact, bees and I were the best of friends… Or as much as one can be friends with an insect. But Freud, who isn’t even a psychiatrist, explained that any adult fear can be traced back to some traumatic experience in childhood. Delving into my subconscious, I remember the first time I revealed a friendship between myself and a fuzzy, fat bumblebee to my family. Aged two-and-a-half, I toddled into the lounge, carrying on my out-stretched chubby hand, my rather rotund friend, the bumblebee. I approached Grandma.

“Look Gramma!” I squealed, “I’ve got a fwend!!”

The bumblebee remained calm in my palm. It obviously enjoyed being friends with me, much to my delight. Grandma thought otherwise and proceeded to, as Mum explains, “lightly tap my hand” to get the bumblebee to fly away. I’d like to point out, up until this moment, both the bee and I were muddling along quite well in our strange relationship. But after Grandma ‘lightly’ tapped my hand? Well, the bumblebee was not amused and flew away, after stinging the living bejesus out of my thumb.

The bumblebee and I were no more.

I really want to say it ended there. But I never do things half-arse, so guess what happened? Allergy! My poor thumb became so swollen in fact that I had to be taken to the doctors for an injection, which I have been told many times feels like a tiny bee sting. Yes, what an excellent analogy to make when a person is receiving an injection because of a bee sting. Over the years, I have had several encounters with aggressive bumblebees, honey bees and wasps. And I remain convinced they are after me.

It’s a bold statement to make; that non-sentient critters are more concerned with wiping you off the face of the earth than cross-pollinating Mum’s lavender plants. But without fail, every time I step onto the deck, the bastard bees fly near me, at me and around me. Dignity aside, there is only so much I can do to protect my wellbeing, such as punching the air, squatting and running for cover as I shout, “argh motherfucker!” For the record, Mortein is ineffectual on plump wee buzzy bees.

So there you have it: a perfectly legitimate phobia of bees, linking back to a traumatic childhood experience. Being frightened of a tiny devil creature that can both fly and sting is by no means irrational.

But try as you might, you could never justify Bogyphobia, a fear of bogeyman. At least the bees are real.


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