Thursday, November 09, 2006

Face-ing my fears

I have one fear I have to regularly confront at work.

It comes up almost every week, and I think it's the unpredictability of it that throws me off.

It's also something that's getting worse.

I used to be able to laugh it off, but I'm becoming less able to do so. It's less funny, more scary, more gross.

My reaction to it is to recoil. I can't look. It's not paralyzing but I think it's fairly obvious to anyone watching I'm uncomfortable.

The thing is there's no way to avoid it coming up, no way to avoid it. I have no control over when

I'm afraid of people who have no teeth.

The way their gums are collapsed into their faces, the way their chins jut out like big round buns, all popeye-ish.

I can even pinpoint where it started. A friend of mine in high school - her parents both had dentures they rarely wore. I remember them laughing when we were at her house watching a movie, gums flapping. They would burst out laughing and they would ripple incessantly. I watched in horror.

I volunteered at a shelter in Windsor, and the clients there weren't exactly bastions of dental care.

The other day, I noticed it was worse when I was standing in the doorway at court watching someone with no teeth coming through and actually went back into the office yelling "ew ew ew ew ew!" in my head and hoping he had his own lawyer. (he did)

I'll get over it, and it certainly won't prevent me from helping someone, but if I get to pick whether the people I come across are toothless or not? I'll pick the person with teeth every time.

So, what's your irrational fear? Tell me I'm not the only whacko creeped out by this kinda stuff!


Princess Jibi said...

na your not, my fear is waking up and find worry lines on my forehead. I have nothing against people who have them, my mom have them, my dad, my husband, but to see them on me that would truly be the end...

Heather said...

Princess jibi: I guess the cure would be not to worry?

Alternati said...

I find people with no teeth funny and I usually divert my eyes to prevent myself from laughing... which is rude, I think.

I am terrified of clowns.

Kimberly said...


I am ridiculously afraid of insects, especially house centipedes and spiders. They send me shrieking from the room in tones only dogs can hear. :-)

ElaineMI said...

I'm with Heather, only it's not the lack of teeth, it's the teeth still hanging on that are black and corroded, gives them that snaggle-tooth look. They look monstrous. And Lord help you if the snaggle mouth is a relative that wants to (shudder) KISS you!!! YUCK

The Waghorns said...


I'm with you on that one. THEY'RE IN YOUR HEAD, TAKE CARE OF THEM! Grosses me out.

I once dated a guy in high school whose father had no finger nails except for on his right thumb. It was long and thick and yellow. He called it the jabber and used it for everything from unscrewing nails to EATING with. As a result, in addition to teeth, I have serious issues with people who have obscenely long nails.

sunshine scribe said...

I don't know if I have a phobia of toothless people but it does give me scary flashbacks to when my mom used to take out her false teeth when I was a kid just to mess with me.

ElaineMI said...

OH, not just obscenely fingernails but I've seen pictures of men and women who have just as long toenails that go out 10 feet and start to curl (one woman even painted each nail a different color!!) That's just gross beyond gross

ElaineMI said...

obscenely LONG...sorry, geez

Digital Fortress said...

When I was a kid I had a fear of albinos, but that probably came from knowing a really mean one...I can deal with toothless old folks...

Bacchus said...

my grandfather used to tease and spook us with his false teeth. he'd rattle them and make them jump out at us.

I'm a big burly man but the minute I see a cockroach I turn into a screaming 7 year old princess. I'll write a post about it because there is a funny story about it.

welcome to my blog!

Heather said...

alternati: I doubt it's rude (and it's less rude than laughing in their faces). I know lots of people who are terrified of clowns.

Kimberly: I don't mind most insects (and don't mind spiders at all) but cockroaches and house centipedes cause me to shriek. We have an older house so house centipedes aren't uncommon. Eek!

Elainemi: eek snaggle teeth.

the Waghorns: I COULDN'T AGREE MORE! Nail fungus is disgusting, and somehow I think less of people who nickname body parts.

sunshine scribe: I don't think I would have done well in your house as a kid.

elainemi: Ugh if my nails get longer than a few millimeters beyond my finger off they go! Too much piano as a kid to have long nails.

digital fortress: That'd be a perfectly reasonable fear to me - kids generalize like that.

bacchus: I too have an awful fear of la cucaracha which is also the cause for my hate of water chestnuts. When I hear people eating them the crunch crunch is the same sound I'd imagine if they were eating cockroaches, so I can't eat them. Wow I'm an odd duck.

TB said...

Smelling someone who has body odor or some other odor. I don't know why, I think it's because my sense of smell is super strong but if I walk past someone who even looks like they might smell bad, I hold my breath.