This week’s Odd News is the tragic story of a sick child with a potentially fatal illness. Family members of the 14-year-old victim are scrambling to organize telethons to increase awareness of this disease before it spreads – but they fear it’s too late.
Headline: Boy Diagnosed With ‘Fear of Growing Up’
Gerascophobia, variously nicknamed the Peter Pan Syndrome or the Dorian Gray Solution, is an abnormal and persistent fear of growing old. This is not to be confused with the much more common Thanatophobia, a fear of dying. Doctors are quick to note that Gerascophobia is a very rare condition, with only three cases identified world-wide, and is in no way contagious – even via TV advertising.
The stricken child insists that aging is a health hazard and has taken extreme measures to curb his growth. These measures may seem disturbing to the casual reader and those with weak constitutions should stop reading now.
- The child is on a self-inflicted, low calorie diet that severely denies the body nutrition needed to grow. On the plus side, he lost 26 pounds.
- He speaks with a high-pitched, baby voice usually reserved for blonds of the dumb persuasion.
- He tries to alter his body’s shape to deemphasize certain features and enhance others to make him appear younger. As a child, he is denied the most basic rights of plastic surgery so he has to rely on cruder measures – like stooping to hide his height.
“Simply, the child believes that once he reaches adulthood, he is more likely to get sick and die,” explained one doctor working on the case. “These are definitely abnormal thoughts. We had no choice but to diagnose.”
Doctors have placed the child on a therapeutic course of diazepam and antidepressants, but drug therapy tends to mask the normal anxiety associated with aging.
The child is in no way encouraged to stay a baby by his mother who sings lullabies to him to keep him calm and continues to dress him each morning. His mother denies allegations that she only stopped breast feeding the child at age 10 because the neighbors were staring.
There is disagreement in the medical field about the diagnosis and doctors are at odds as to where an illogical phobia exists and logical fear of aging begins.
“Fear of aging is completely reasonable,” argued one Canadian doctor when discussing the billions spent on cosmetics, surgeries, behavioral therapies (AKA exercise), and extreme nostalgia to remain youthful.
Doctors agree that the disease may be more widespread than is currently thought and have set up a hotline for anyone who lays awake at night thinking about the future. 1-800-IMDYING.
This little known phobia has been around for centuries. Ponce de Leon is rumored to have found a natural antidote in the 16th century in the form of a fountain, but his death in 1521 proved him wrong. More recently, pharmaceutical companies have taken up the challenge to find a synthetic antidote for age-o-phobes.
While there has been some limited success, the cure for Gerascophobia is accepting aging as a natural part of life. This has yet to be distilled into pill form.
I’m Jae and this message is to declare that I’m celebrating my 21st birthday again this year.