Everyone has something or someone, which will make their palms sweat and heart race. For those who prefer medical terms – it’s called a phobia.

I don’t know if I’d call it a phobia, more like worrying about something which generally isn’t worth worrying about, or things I’d rather steer clear of, if at all possible. The good news is, these phobias can disappear and the bad news is, you could develop another one.

During the days of dads’ dementia he developed a phobia with any organization whose name is abbreviated with three letters: IRS, CIA, FBI. On any given day he’d claim they were looking for him, have called to harass him or he owed them money.

I’ve only been able to recognize one phobia for my main squeeze and I don’t even think he realizes it. I’m going to call it toilet-paper-roll-off-phobia. The fear of replacing the toilet paper into the holder on the wall. Instead I always find it sitting on top of the empty roll holder. Since that seems to be his only downfall, I’ll just continue replacing them.

During my teenage years I must not have had any phobias, or if I did, I covered them up by acting fearless, which got me into a lot of trouble, which was scary enough. In my 20s and 30s I developed a phobia which actually has a name - claustrophobia. I’m still not sure why, but for a long while, I’d have to take the stairs instead of the elevator and would have to sit on the end seats in theaters.

Just as that phobia seemed to disappear, in my 40s, a new and very real fear came into play. I’m calling it body-functions-out-of-control-phobia. The fear of sneezing with a full bladder or passing gas during a coughing fit.

When my youngest daughter was small she had automatic-car-wash-phobia. Every time we pulled into the bay to get a wash, she’d cry hysterically. After thinking about it, this may have stemmed from a time we entered the car wash and it wouldn’t come on, so I panicked, backed up too quickly and smashed into a brick wall. Apparently some phobias do have a reason behind them.

Sometimes when I sit down to write my column each week I develop what others would classify as writer’s block. For me it’s more the fear of will-they-think-I’m-an-idiot phobia.

One good thing about being nearly 60 is I’ve lost any phobias on how I look, act or smell. I haven’t yet lost the sense of saying whatever pops into my head, as many grandparents do, but I’m sure it’s on the horizon.

Currently my only phobia is the fear of wondering which body part is going to quit working or malfunction next. I believe the medical term for this is called “over the hill” although I’ve been telling the grandkids I’m not old, I’m just in reverse.

Sandy Turner writes about family and lives in the Midwest.

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