Monday, September 20, 2010


My name is Duck and I am a Globophobic.

I am afraid of balloons.

Really really.

For me, being in proximity to inflated latex is akin to entering a room with a lion in it. Heart pounding, blood pressure rising, hysteria, panic attacks and occasional fainting.

I take only small comfort from the fact that it is considered one of the top ten strange phobias in the world.

Most of my close family and friends know this and balloons are not in evidence at events that I am known to be attending. The Little Ducks understand and don't bring balloons home from parties.

One of the hardest things I have to do each year is pass under the balloon arch at the start of the Great Manchester Run. I have to do it or the electronic timer tag thingy on my ankle won't record my achievement.

It occasionally provides an opportunity for me to embarrass myself in public.

Which is nice.

At the height of the Glazer protests at Old Trafford last year, fans took to bringing yellow and green balloons to the game. My fellow fans in the North Stand were treated to the unexpected sight of me freaking out and screaming like a banshee when hundreds of green and yellow missiles rained down from the second and third tiers directly onto my head.

It took some persuasion for the stewards to put away the straitjacket and and stand down the men in white coats.

But to those who mock and scoff and torment people like me with strange phobias, beware!

Anatidaephobia is the fear that somewhere, somehow a duck is watching you.

Really, really.

In the weird and wonderful phobia charts, it's right up there with globophobia and its sufferers are subjected to the same level of mockery.

But sometimes there is method in the madness.

Ducks are in fact evil*.

Personally, I think one look into our cold, beady eyes should tell you this, but the big, fat, funny beaks lend us a benign, comic air.

Animal spin-doctor supremo Beatrix Potter did a fabulous propaganda cover-up with her delicate, anthropormorphic creation - Jemima Puddleduck - to the extent that parents willingly expose their offspring to certain death in parks and ponds around the country, with only slices of bread to pacify the ducks' voracious appetites.

So I was mortified to find the true nature of Duckkind exposed on Facebook this week. With no thought for the mass panic that could ensue, someone published this:

So now the world knows our secret** and anatidaephobics the world over can continue to sleep uneasily in their beds.

* Not as evil as rabbits, but getting there.
** Don't worry. The medication keeps me totally under control***
*** Although I couldn't entirely vouch for Tiddler.