Spinning a Phobia Tale
Though born the same day, from the same womb
John and Jerry never shared the same room.
Two different families raised them under their roofs.
after their mom made far too many goofs.
They were lucky indeed to find good families,
and both had a fairly supportive rearing.
Jerry was top of his class at law school
While John got his Ph.D in engineering.
Though different careers, and somewhat different lives,
they shared an uncanny number of traits.
Both drove race cars and raised furry lamas,
Yet had very different stories to explain their fates.
Socializing in elite special circles,
one habit amused their friends to no end,
You see, both John and Jerry ran and panicked
if ever their path were crossed by a feathery friend.
It mattered not what form the avian took
A decoration, a movie or a book.
Birds cripple their lives more than reason allowed
In this way they were far different from the crowd.
John blamed his parents who arranged his crib
with threatening plastic birds luring over his chest.
Whereas Jerry put the blame on his evil young peers.
Who tormented him with dead birds in a nest.
Researchers found the twins and probed,
to see if their traits were genetic or homegrown.
The genes spoke more loudly than many imagined
environment mattered little if they were genetically prone.
But we are story animals,
weaving our tales since our youth.
Just-so stories satisfy us so deeply,
we can’t even begin to imagine the truth.
Phobias may have causes
but they are rarely the stories we tell.
So we simply nod to each others tales
hoping they’ll believe ours as well.
— by Sabio Lantz, 10/13/12
Prompt: Stuart @ d’Verse asks us to “write a poem about a phobia” or “An observational poem about fear (how does it effect people, how does it effect their behaviour, their lives?)”.
- Specific phobias have a 9.4% lifetime prevalence. You are at a higher risk if you are female, young or low income. If are less likely to have a specific phobia if you are Asian or Hispanic. Source: The epidemiolgoy of DSM-IV specific phobia in the USA. Stinson et al., Psychological Medicine, 2007, 27, 1047-1059.
- The Minnesota Twin Family Study (wiki)
- The Genetic Epidemiology of Irrational Fears and Phobias in Men. Kendler et al. The Archives of General Psychiatry, 2001; 58(3): 257-265.