Some people are afraid of heights, some of frogs and others of getting peanut butter stuck on the roof of their mouths. Aside from a long standing arachnophobia – fear of spiders – that meant my Dad had to go on spider killing missions when required, I have now realized that I suffer from formophobia. That is the fear of forms, especially government forms, and most particularly income tax forms.
Amongst the many phobias on the phobialist.com a fear of forms is not listed – how strange, I can’t be the only person in the world with this phobia. I would have thought there would be millions of us poor sufferers out there. Eventually I tracked down a name and description on the urbandictionary site:
Formophobia/ Form Anxiety: n. Paralyzing fear, distress, and nervousness caused by the act of entering personal information into a pre-made template. Making simple tasks such as applying for jobs, school, etc. almost impossible for the affected. http://www.urbandictionary.com/
Now that describes pretty exactly how I feel about government forms. My fear has ratcheted up several notches after having to fill in a 27 page Basic Environmental Scoping Application form four times for four different roads. This must have been developed by someone suffering from severe formophilia – i.e. joy, elation, and sometimes sexual arousal caused by the act of entering personal information into a pre-made template. People affected often find themselves drawn to filling out papers for others. http://www.urbandictionary.com/
People who create forms must be formophiliacs – sounds fairly gross doesn’t it?
The scads of new legislation in South Africa has been a windfall for the bureaucratic formophiliacs that infest government offices around the country. If you can’t do anything else to prove that you’re working, create a new form. It needs to be as confusing and difficult to complete as possible. It must require numerous repetitions of the same facts and figures, especially name, address, etc. It must be printed in a 7.5 point serif font to ensure maximum illegibility, especially once it has been Photostatted numerous times and then faxed to the poor bastard who has to complete it. It must have dozens and dozens of places where signatures are required. To really count as a form par excellence it must include an incomprehensible, unexplained formula to identify whether or not the applicant qualifies as a Formerly Advantaged, Formerly Disadvantaged, Currently Disadvantaged, Gender disadvantaged, Disabled, Working in the local area, and any other requirement that can be thought up by someone who is not going to have to fill in the blasted thing.
Is it any wonder my hands begin to shake, I hyperventilate, my heart races and a full blown panic attack ensues when faced with the latest production of some asinine grey suited formophiliac.