I was probably only six or seven years old at the time when the fear first came over me and until recently, I was ashamed to admit it. It took years of counseling, intense therapy and hypnosis for me to finally be able to cope with my problem. Now, at long last, it's finally time to let the cat out of the bag and let our readers here know that I, borgo, the former jarhead and all around macho tough guy has a fear. A fear so all encompassing that it prevented me from watching certain television shows, going to wrestling matches or attending the circus.

A fear so debilitating that when I’d see the source of it in public my mouth would go dry, my heart would pound in my chest and the palms of my hands would be dripping with sweat. I’d have to leave restaurants or bars or cross over to the other side of the street when I saw one of “them” in the vicinity. I still have nightmares about the time I was trapped in one of those company sponsored retreats and a bunch of us had to share a cabin and one of “them “ was in our midst.

I guess all of us have to suffer from one thing or another. Such is life. The cross that I have to bear is called “Achondroplasiaphobia.”.

It is the fear of midgets or, in these politically correct times, the fear of “little people”.

I was astounded and a bit relieved when I discovered others out there shared my illness. One even went public back in 1977 when Randy Newman recorded a quasi famous song that included the lines that "Short people got no reason to live". For awhile, that song became my anthem.

Now, it hurts me to even type these words on to the screen, my guilt runs that deep.

I guess I blame the munchkins from The Wizard of Oz. After all, I was young and impressionable when I first saw it but I still get a chill up my spine and get covered in goose bumps when I recall of few scenes from the movie. Surprisingly they don’t have to do with tornadoes or wicked witches.

No, the one that got me, that started me down this twisted road, was that scene when Dorothy first gets there and hundreds of them start crawling out of the woodwork like cockroaches in a crack house. Then later, three of them representing something called “The Lollipop Guild” greet her by singing and dancing to some weird ass song. It probably comes as no coincidence that I've hated lollipops ever since.

If you clicked on that link and didn’t shudder at the image (especially at the one in the blue shirt) when it popped up on the screen you’re a better human being than I am.

For any of you short people out there, please don’t take this personally. It’s a real sickness and I’m a real sick man.

I’d write some more about what it’s like to suffer from “Achondroplasiaphobia” but I’m a little “short on time”. I’ve got to go meet my sponsor to make my support group meeting for others of us who suffer from this affliction.

I am not a well man.

But I am getting better.

Achondroplasiaphobia, along with nanosophobia (from nanosomia), birchophobia (from Simon Birch), and lollypopguildophobia (from the Lollypop Guild) are made-up terms meaning a fear of little people. Achondroplasiaphobia is perhaps the most common of these terms, and perhaps the most sane, as achondroplasia is an actual form of dwarfism, specifically, one in which people develop a normal-size trunk and head, but stunted limbs.

As far as I can determine, someone who truly had a fear of little people would probably be diagnosed with teratophobia. This is an abnormal fear of deformity in others, although it is most often defined as the pathological fear of giving birth to a deformed child. The fact that these two meanings are covered by one term helps illustrate how rare this sort of thing really is. This is in part due to the fact that very few people actually have this sort of phobia, and in part to the fact that the definition of a true phobia includes something like "causes a significant interference in social or occupational activities." This clause means that even those who do have an irrational fear of dwarves are unlikely to get a formal diagnosis unless they live near or work with someone with dwarfism.

A few possibly related terms: fear of deformity in oneself, including fear of dwarfism, is dysmorphophobia. Those with limited exposure to dwarfism may actually be suffering from automatonophobia, the fear of 'false humans' -- although this more properly refers to dolls, ventriloquist's dummies, animatronic creatures, wax statues, or anything else that falsely represents a human being. If this is the case, actually meeting a person with dwarfism might well be enough to exclude them from the phobia.

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