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August 24, 2019
 
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Banmaxianphobia

Jul 12 2019

I was in first, perhaps second, grade and it was a Friday afternoon. I was so excited because this was the time each week when the teacher passed out "My Weekly Reader", a magazine of sorts for elementary kids. As I recall it was a four page handout, not much more than a pamphlet, but to me it was like stepping into the adult world: we seven year olds were reading a newspaper, just like our parents did!

But, while I remember no other specific articles from any other issues, this particular issue of MWR influenced me for years to come.  There was a comic strip meant to teach safety. Two little children- why, the very same age as us youngsters- were jaywalking across a busy street. Then, just before a runaway vehicle almost turned the whole scene into blood and mayhem right there Before my innocent little eyes, an anthropomophized crosswalk peeled up off of the road, wrapped itself around the children, and got them safely across the intersection. 

The problem was, this did not instill in me a fear of jaywalking. It did, however, give me a mild, but real fear of crosswalks.  These seemingly benign stripes of white paint could, apparently come alive at any moment and entangle anyone who got too close. Yikes! For years I made a point of avoiding crosswalks whenever possible.  Granted, I lived in Essex Junction, Vermont as a child and have lived in even smaller towns with less traffic since then, so this quirk never put me in any danger.  If I lived in downtown Chicago, However, I could have been in real danger every day of my life.

 Anyway, one day that comic strip circa 1966 came back to me in an unexpected epiphany, and since then I've been much better about following proper pedestrian behaviors.  Then today, for no apparent reason, I decided to see if the fear of crosswalks was a real thing, so I turned to that ultimate source of all things random: google.  Sure enough, I learned I have been suffering from Banmaxianphobia all this time.

  I have been a Banmaxianphobic for years. Thank you My Weekly Reader.

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