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Friday, March 5, 2010

Dentists, Rappers, and Other Scary Things

Everyone is afraid of something. Whether you’re afraid of snakes, clowns, or Ronald Reagan, you can overcome these fears by visiting the Mississippi Library Commission and checking out one of our books on phobias. Here are three of my favorites.
The first book is Dr. Robert F. Kroeger’s How to Overcome Fear of Dentistry. I chose this book because of my concern for America’s most beloved singer songwriter, Dewayne Carter (A.K.A. Lil Wayne, Lil Weezy, Dr. Carter, Birdman Jr.). Recently Mr. Carter’s sentencing was delayed so that he could get his grill straight (or teeth fixed, for all of you non hipsters out there). Granted, a prison delay would probably give one reason to love the dentist, but Mr. Carter reportedly had to undergo extensive surgery. This leads me to believe Weezy’s been ducking the dentist. Well, if you’re reading this Dr. Carter, here’s some advice from your colleague, Dr. Kroeger. First, learn to relax. Dr. Kroeger argues that practicing “relaxation exercises” can make a trip to the dentist more bearable. These relaxation exercises include: “paced breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery.” (49) By employing these techniques anyone can face a dentist without fear and, if that does not work, Kroeger says, “relaxation exercises work together with tranquilizers and certain other medications to produce very deep relaxation.” (49) Good advice, Doc.
Now that we have Lil Wayne cured let’s move on to America’s second most precious resource, our children. One book that focuses on kids is Dr. Jonathan Kellerman’s Helping the Fearful Child: A Guide to Everyday and Problem Anxieties. Strangely enough, Dr. Kellerman’s book caused me a great deal of fear after reading this passage:

“Babies are not afraid of heights. They remain relaxed while falling and have been known to tolerate severe drops without incurring injury. They are not afraid of snakes, sharks, or public speaking. They react placidly to wasps, mosquitoes, and bees. The site of hideous monsters on TV often invokes only bemused curiosity.” (27)

This quote made me wonder how the good doctor learned these things. Dr. Kellerman’s test babies may not be afraid of snakes, but after these experiences, I’m sure they have a healthy fear of doctors. My advice would be don’t hire Doc Kellerman as the babysitter.
Lastly, it’s important to realize that some fears are perfectly normal. Richard Waters’ book Phobias: Revealed and Explained offers some great examples of things you probably have good reason to fear. Here are a few examples:
Nucleomituphobia: Fear of nuclear weapons
Ballistophobia: Fear of missiles or bullets
Chorophobia: Fear of dancing (especially my dancing)
Mastigophobia: Fear of flogging or punishment.
Well, regardless of what you’re afraid of, you should never be scared to visit MLC and check out a book.
Kroeger, Robert. How to Overcome Fear of Dentistry. Heritage Communications, Cincinnati. 1988
Kellerman, Jonathan. Helping The Fearful Child: A Guide to Everyday and Problem Anxieties. W.W. Norton & Company, New York. 1981
Waters, Richard. Phobias: Revealed and Explained. Barron's Educational Services, New York. 2004

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