Study Finds Majority Of Non-Shark-Related Fears Completely Unjustified

Illustration for article titled Study Finds Majority Of Non-Shark-Related Fears Completely Unjustified

ROCKVILLE, MD—A study released Tuesday by the National Institute for Mental Health confirmed that the vast majority of Americans’ anxieties and phobias have no logical grounding in reality, aside from those related to being attacked in open waters and torn limb from limb by a gigantic, merciless shark. “Our research shows that people’s most common fears, such as the fear of flying or heights, are wholly unfounded, with the notable exception of the fear of a tiger shark swimming up undetected while you wade in the surf, latching its piercing teeth into your thigh, and dragging you screaming out to sea,” said the study’s lead author, Michael Buckley, citing clinical studies that described any pervasive sense of paranoia unrelated to being disemboweled by an inescapable frenzy of five sharks while swimming close to shore as “entirely irrational.” “We found that those individuals who expressed anxiety about public speaking, small spaces, germs, darkness, and nearly every other clinically identifiable source of phobia spent much of their time worriedly obsessing over these unrealistic concerns when they would have been far better served to channel this dread toward the very real danger of entering the ocean with a small cut or a piece of shiny jewelry and splashing around too close to the surface, all things that are likely to instigate a lethal bull shark or great white attack.” According to Buckley, the only two other reasonable and completely justified phobias discovered in the course of the study were the fear of getting caught in a swarm of killer bees and the fear of dying alone.