the F words
He realized he was never going to develop a fear of open spaces in his townhouse in New Jersey, so he decided to pick up and move to North Dakota. He bought a small house situated in the middle of a plot of land so flat that driving on it felt like pushing a Matchbox car on a dining room table.
When he opened his front door the view screamed open spaces.
The question that has to be asked for the purposes of this story is why he wanted to develop a fear of open spaces in the first place.
Simply put, because his first name began with the letter F.
The F in the word ‘if’ is completely comfortable with its fness.
On the other hand, the word ‘of’ is an aberration. A monstrosity. If the gods of the written word had intended the letter F to sound like a V then an enclosed compartment for cooking and heating food would be an ofen. Simple as that. And yet everyone around him says the word incorrectly and looks at him oddly when he says ‘of’ heavy on the F.
He has tried to think without using these clumsy words to no avail. If the North Dakota lurking outside his door seems enormous, it pales in comparison to what sits between his ears. Try as he might, he can’t seem to muster even an iota of fear about absent visuospatial support.
Fear, now there’s a word that deserves a second F in it. Ffear.
And funny as well. Maybe even a third, because it’s fffunny that most people believe that agoraphobia is the ffear of open spaces when in fact (adding a second F seems somehow wrong) it’s not. Agoraphobia is a ffear of being in situations where escape might be difficult or that help wouldn’t be available if things go wrong, and he strongly believes that it can’t be a coincidence that there is a ‘ph’ sitting right in the middle of that word pretending to be an F. Or that for referring to consonants like B, C or D it’s a B, a C and a D while F gets an an. What is it about the F that screams vowel? “How it’s pronounced?!” he thunders, “Tell that to my oven!”
And then you wonder why he wants to develop a fear of open spaces?
He longs to feel a bead of perspiration forming on his brow as he grips the doorknob to his front door. Oh to be paralyzed to go any further, the very idea of seeing the fffflat (a word that seems to revel in its fness) expanses waiting behind the door filling him with existential terror. Bliss! Something that a trained professional might be able to help him with. Instead he strolls outside with only a single care in the world; the moment he has to stroll back inside, sit down and be alone with his thoughts.
Thoughts and a personal filosophy he has no choice but to articulate with words.