Like my old shrink always said, even though phobias are considered to be the most common mental disorder, having rational fears is not a bad thing. My fear of bee stings--I could die--is quite respectable. Still, scanning a list of recognized phobias, some of them do seem a tad nutty, like leukophobia, the fear of the color white, genuphobia, the fear of knees, and ephibiphobia, the fear of teenagers. Okay, so that last one isn't all that crazy. But now I have a new fear that has not yet been named but certainly should be: Fear of going to sleep in your own bed and while you are sleeping having your entire bedroom swallowed up whole by a sinkhole and you're still in it. This is exactly what happened in suburban Tampa just last week, killing a 36-year-old landscaper named Jeff Bush. That is surely not what people mean when they say they hope to die at home in their own bed.
Surprisingly, the risk of sinkholes is fairly routine in Florida. Added to the movie "Jaws," the 1.2 million alligators in the canals and those ubiquitous, miniature crates of orange gumballs that say, "Greetings from Florida!" for sale everywhere, it's a wonder Disney World is still the world's most-visited entertainment resort. Now that's scary.