Friday, 18 May 2007

Appeal for help

I don't really know any Greek, beyond the first few words of St John's Gospel. Can anyone help me with a proper clinical label for the problem blighting my recent trips to the porters' lodge, viz a crippling fear of envelopes marked Confidential? A bash at the online Liddell and Scott makes me want to say mustographeaphobia, I guess spelt μυστογραφεαφοβια. Which is probably about as accurate as most of these terms...


  1. I think your word might really mean a fear of someone who writes cofidential documents -- which is perhaps a relatively common phobia in any case. Since 'aporreta' and 'mysteria' can also simply mean 'secrets', particularly in *cultic* contexts, perhaps we can make do with simply aporretophobia or mysteriaphobia. If you want to be more specific about documents, perhaps we need something like 'mysterialogophobia'... But that's a real mouthful.

    I also like your idea that some people might not be as scary as they seem. Do you think some people might be more scary than they seem?

  2. Thanks for the suggestions. I rather like mysterialogophobia, and I think it's rather a comfort to self-diagnose with something multisyllabic. What I want to convey is the casual thought "I'll check my pigeonhole since I'm going past" followed by seeing it has stuff in it and feeling vaguely pleased, and then seeing the envelope marked "Confidential" and knowing it's probably just an agenda for a meeting, but it could be something much worse...

    There are definitely people who are more scary than they seem. I could give you named examples but it's a bit public here. How about Tony Blair, the 1997 version? I still just don't get what happened there. There was an excellent line on Peep Show this week where Mark and Jeremy were arguing in the middle of the road and Jeremy said "I'm not going to die for your posterity -- you're not Tony Blair".