Paranoia by any other name

USA Today has an article today about potential 24-cent gas price increases in which the Oil Price Information Service’s senior analyst coins the term “Petronoia”

The analyst, Tom Kloza, defines petronoia as the state in which the rational thought process of petroleum traders becomes overridden by fear over the possibility of extreme shortages of gasoline in the future, causing them to over-purchase now, driving up prices at the gas pump for no good reason.

It’s a fun little word applied to something that affects most of us on a day-to-day basis, which makes me wonder what other words we can make up for the odd little fears that strike the average person every day.

Some candidates include:

  • Parkanoia – The irrational fear that taking the first parking spot you come across wastes time walking, causing you to drive around the Wal-mart lot for fifteen minutes searching for that killer spot near the doors, thereby wasting taking three times amount of time it would take to walk from the furthest spot possible.
  • Stockroomanoia – The irrational belief that the store employee is lying to you when he says he’s out of a particular item, causing you to force him to go “check in the back” despite the fact that “the back” consists of an employee restroom and mop closet.
  • Toiletnoia – The performance anxiety you suffer from when you’re trying to use the restroom at a party and fearfully believe everyone outside can hear every last bodily noise you make as you attempt to relieve yourself.

When you think about it, it’s not hard to see how the private mental health industry stays well-funded with all the psychological fears and worries we have.

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