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Home > Media

Pea is for Psycho

27 March 2006

There is something incredibly dull about money. Unless it's actually puffing out your wallet or purse or flowing through your fingers in a delightful capitalist flourish, it's just so horribly dull and ugly. Actually - that's other people's money. That's what we're talking about. Which is why the Budget is the most tedious news-day of the year for many people, and why the Labour Party's increasingly unwieldy mire of financial corruption is just so utterly fucking dreary. It's not surprising. It's not exciting. It's not interesting. Give us a sex scandal any day of the week. Then at least we can moan about how prurient and pathetic everyone is. So, in the absence of any decent news, thank the Lord for peas.

This week came the news that Louise Arnold is so absolutely terrified of peas that she runs out of restaurants if she catches even the slightest glimpse of one on someone else's plate. Now, we here at The Friday Thing have a lot of time, patience, tolerance and understanding for people with senseless phobias. We even have a few ourselves, including lifts, crane flies, buttons, closed spaces, open spaces and sobriety. However, peas? Fucking *peas*?

'When I think about peas,' says the 35-year-old loon from Bishops Cleeve, 'and talk about them, it makes my throat constrict. And if I see them it makes me anxious. All the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and it's like a panic attack.' OK, OK, it isn't funny. It may sound funny. It may even look funny, to see a grown human reduced to a gibbering wreck by a tiny, tiny vegetable. But it isn't.

Hold on. Shit, it *is* funny, isn't it? It's really hilarious. But should it be? A fear of peas could be as debilitating as any other fear. So why aren't we more tolerant of these terrified fools?

Obviously, by their very definition, phobias are irrational. Particularly the wackier ones. Fear of flying is kind of understandable, despite the much trotted-out statistics regarding the higher likelihood of dying in a Ford Escort or a flash flood. Similarly, no one is going to laugh in your face if you confess to a fear of heights or cancer or fundamentalist Islam. Even with spiders you can just about grasp at the reasoning behind the wildly unrealistic fears of these pathetic specimens, especially if you have some background information - exhibitionistic parents; an incident with an octopus. However, when it comes to peas, or say, newsprint, or dust or salt or the number 13, it just becomes impossible to understand why, or rather *how*, anyone could actually be afraid of these things. But still, even though we can't understand, we should at least attempt not to ridicule.

But we can't help it. It just makes no sense! A pea phobia has no place in this world of cause and effect and logic and real awful terrifying things that actually do us damage and help kill us every day of our lives. Why peas? And which peas? Is she afraid of wasabi peas? Snow peas? Sugarsnap peas? Mangetout? Peas still in their pod? Mushy peas? Pea soup? What about pease pudding in the pot, nine days old? What about The Black-Eyed Peas? What about mouldy beans or tiny green plastic pellets that closely resemble peas?

Hopefully many of these questions will be answered when Louise appears in the ITV programme 'Scared to Death - Phobia Britain' this summer. In the meantime, as if to hammer home what a dull, dull week it's been for news, the Daily Mirror yesterday followed up Louise's story with that of 64-year-old Pam Philips. Pam wrote in after she'd read about Louise. The Daily Mirror put their best reporters on it at once. Turns out Pam adores peas, and reckons she's probably eaten about four tonnes of them. 'It must be absolutely awful to be scared of peas,' says Pam. 'I have great trust in them.'

Phew. That's better. The dumb-dumb balance has been restored.

Don't watch this, Louise. It'll Give You Nightmares.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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