The Border Collie Chronicles

Observations from (arguably) the World's Smartest Dogs;
(but, without question, the bestest friends!)
or, Life As We Understand It, as told from dad's shop.

Posted January 12, 2017

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia …

By Bubba


Yeah … that’s right!  You heard me … Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, dangit!  Face it!


I was thinking the other day, and even though Gall and Annie have tried to divert my thoughts from the calendar … I DO KNOW what tomorrow is … Friday the 13th!


Now all of you know that I am not scared of anything … but I am a worrier!  Even though Momma Roo wrote that most wonderful article back on February 12, 2015 dispelling the myths and concerns regarding Friday the 13th … the date can still distress me a little bit!


So, I go to doing me a little researching (actually, I got distracted and started looking at photo sites of rough collies[i]) when I ran across the word “hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia”.  You know that I am always looking forward to all of the opportunities for me to expand my vocabulary, so this word really excited me – well, in truth, it scared the bejeezus out of me at first, but as I read more about it, I became more and more comfortable with it.  It’s really pretty interesting!


You know, some folks think that fears and phobias are just plain ridiculous and silly!  I fully disagree!!  To many of us – I mean, to many folks – fears and phobias are very real!  You see, the mind is capable of developing fears and phobias toward virtually anything or any situation.


Most specific phobias are caused by an event that is recorded by parts of the brain (namely the amygdala and hippocampus) as “dangerous” or “deadly”.  The body then reacts as if the same event is bound to happen repeatedly.  A person with a severe phobia is literally held a prisoner by his feelings of anxiety and/or panic when they experience, or think that they will experience, the item/action/event that spooks them!


The good news is:  No one is born with a phobia.  The bad news is:  Most folks have simply learned it from an unpleasant episode.  In fact; most don’t even remember how the fear even got started.


School age kids (and in some cases, adults) might have experienced being laughed at or having been embarrassed (or found themselves shaking, trembling, wetting the floor, pooping uncontrollably, etc.) when faced with their fear (this has, of course, never happened to me!!!).  The mind can then sometimes continue to create the same responses without any basis for the actions.  For someone suffering from a phobia, the mind develops negative images, like bad movie-type stills at the thought or sight of their fear.


Symptomology of some phobias:

Typically, the symptoms of phobias can be characterized as mental, emotional or physical.  Many individuals feel extremely anxious or have a full blown panic attack at the sight or thought of the items that they have a phobia about.


Physical symptoms include shaking, crying, running away, trembling, feeling nauseated, experiencing headaches, rapid or accelerated heartbeat and shallow breathing, etc. (plus, remember the wetting the floor and pooping uncontrollably – again, not that this ever happened to me!).


The phobia-experiencer is likely to feel dread and terror; their mind creating very bad pictures such as embarrassing oneself, passing out, passing gas, wetting, pooping, etc. when faced with their phobia.


Often the individual understands that his fear is irrational and unsupported; however, they are unable to control themselves and is powerless to rationalize the issue at hand!


The Treating and Overcoming of phobias:

The good news is that phobias, including hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, can be overcome.  Drugs and medicines probably ought to be the last resort as since they simply mask the symptoms of anxiety experienced due to the phobia.  The solution to overcoming the fear is to mainly recall and evaluate the factors that have led to the phobia in the first place.


Therapists can also help evaluate these factors to come up with a treatment plan.  The individual is then encouraged to expose themselves to their fear gradually: beginning with just a little bit, then progressing to thinking about the “whole enchilada”.  Such gradual exposure helps lessen the panic until the individual is completely comfortable and can face their fear confidently.


Using self-help methods like deep breathing, relaxing, meditating, etc. are also recommended while dealing with phobias.  Talk therapy, cognitive behavior therapy and behavior therapy are some other important and effective therapies for treating various phobias.


With respect to Friday the 13th though … as Momma Roo said “In conclusion, superstitions are for weak minded folks.  I don’t know about ya’ll – but, so far, ain’t nothing bad happened to me on a Friday the 13th (knock on wood and cross my fingers) ,,, so, to me … it’s just another day!”


Love to All,





Some Fear and Phobia Quotes …


Choosing to live in narrow spaces leads to form of mental agoraphobia and that brings its own terrors.  I think the willfully unimaginative see more monsters, they are often more afraid.  What is more, those who choose not to empathize enable real monsters.  For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude through our own apathy.

J. K. Rowling



Tell us your phobias, and we will tell you what you are afraid of.

Robert Benchley



The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.

James Branch Cabell



Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism.  Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person.

Dr. David M. Burns



Fear sometimes stops you from doing stupid things.  But it can also stop you from doing creative or exciting or experimental things.  It can cloud your judgment of others, and lead to all kinds of evil.  The control and understanding of our personal fears is one of the most important undertakings in our life.

Helen Mirren



Everyone has certain fears, certain things that one cannot abide.

Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata



When the government fears the people, there is liberty.  When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.

Thomas Jefferson












What’s that … what does hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia mean … well, I just assumed that everyone knew that!  You see, folks suffering from hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia tend to experience a great deal of anxiety when faced with long words.  It is indeed ironical that the scientific name given to this phobia is such a long one.  Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia can actually be broken down into several parts: Hippo- is ‘horse’ in Greek and potam-os is river.  Thus the first part of the word refers to a water horse also otherwise known as Hippopotamus.  The Oxford Dictionary uses the word: Hippopotamine to refer to “something very large”.  The word “monstr” is the Greek origin of a ‘monstrous being’ or something that is huge or terrifying and sesquippedalio is derived from Greek sesquippedali meaning ‘measuring a foot and a half long’.  Phobos stands for morbid fear.









Here’s a secret tidbit … dad has a pretty major phobia that he tries not to let anyone know!  But I know it … I can’t tell you what it is though since he’s pretty doggone afraid of it (and I have his back) …


[i] -  mmmm hmmmm – that Lassie is one HOT specimen of a rough collie!  You can check out some various poses of them HERE!























It’s nomorebeeraphobia – the fear of running out of cold beer!


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