Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sidonglobophobia: the fear of cotton balls

Sometimes, when you're filming something, you get lucky and come across an event that you could never have predicted. I had no part in this prank and only found out when Irving did. I didn't expect to capture a real life example of sidonglobophobia. I had no idea it even existed. This is a real rappel forest fire fighter, one of Alberta's supposed bravest, with a fear of cotton balls.

Feel free to tweet this, link to it, help it go viral. Young Irving really wanted to be famous and I promised him I'd try. I'm fairly sure this isn't what he had in mind.


  1. This is awesome!~!!

  2. Thank you.

    I love those sorts of comments the best of all. Feel free to spread the link around. I put special buttons so you can pick your favourite social media machine.

  3. tom! awesome.hardhitting and compelling. that stuff just doesn't happen round here. banff crew isn't nearly scared enough of pink sparkles. jp.

  4. Hilarious. I wonder if I can develop it and claim on my disability insurance that I can work anymore in my life of ER work (with all the cotton balls in the suture trays). I have excellent disability insurance, essentially if I can't do exactly my job, even if I'm capable of doing something else, I get covered. I always figured I would develop Tourettes. It would be fun to randomly swear at people and get away from it.

  5. Wait a second, how can you possibly smell or hear a fart in an helicopter! Funny! I'd like to see more of these.

  6. Oh, you can smell it. Strange things happen to the air in a helicopter, even with the doors open.

    What you can and can't hear in such a machine also varies. You can't talk at a normal room volume, like in the movies. You have to nearly shout. But you can still catch certain frequencies pretty good.

    We all wear ear plugs when we rappel though, so I doubt I would have heard the fart. Passed straight through it on the way to the door and sometimes you have to wait for a good deal of time before you exit.

    There is a rule amongst rappellers that no one is to fart while in the helicopter. Being a rookie, The Kid (as we called him) had to pay a pretty steep price.

  7. A whole element of life I never imagined.

    I'm holding a cotton ball now and when I squeeze it it just sounds like pinching off a piece of cotton candy. I guess The Kid can be grateful his sleeping bag didn't get stuffed with icky sticky cotton candy.

    This video is a gem.

  8. Thanks Leslie.

    You are rapidly becoming my favourite commentator.

    So happy that you liked this little video.

  9. love it Tom..a great ode to the rapattack shenanigans that I oddly miss so dearly..I am particularly pleased that almost the entire video is shot with 'the kid's' shirt off..I think this is how you should do all videos from this point on...
    PS - I miss your coffee

  10. For all these (4,000) reasons, I (sometimes) miss Rapattack,

    Kerry, Class of '85

  11. Me too, Kerry, me too.

    Tom, class of '98

  12. wow I know exactly how this man feels and the worst part is the same identical prank was pulled on me by my roomates some years ago...I hate cotton balls to and no one seems to understand how they make me feel.

  13. Perhaps if they watch this video film, they might, Phoz4us1one.

  14. Fear of cotton is called sidonglobophobia. This occurs when someone is born with mixed up neural pathways in the a certain section of the brain. It is not funny and I feel bad for people who suffer from this.

  15. Dear Anonymous,

    While I find your compassion for phobias touching, I wasn't making fun of my friend. I did not set up this prank, I merely documented it.

    For the record, I have a policy of never preying on someone's phobia. I have my own, as I'm sure we all do.

    However, this was very funny. Even my subject laughed about it later.

    There is great value at laughing at yourself and remember these are forest fire fighters. As a general rule, we all tend towards a darker sense of humour as do most with dangerous jobs.

    As you don't know me, I'll forgive your lecture. But you should be aware that I am experience in far more dramatic mental health issues than a mild fear of cotton. And I do find humour in those things as well.

    I would suggest that you might not belong on a firefighting crew.

    Thank you for your comment, Anonymous.


  16. I found this while looking up my own fear of cotton balls, and I must say this was kinda funny. I would have laughed about it later too. But my real reason for commenting is to address Simon's comment about Tourette's. I have TS. It's a neurological disorder that people are born with; it can't be "developed". Also, the swearing tic is very rare, only a small percent of us have it. And no, it's not fun. Go jump off a bridge.

  17. PS. I'm sorry to pollute your comment thread with nastiness, Mr. Weston. I really liked the video, but I just can't stand ignorance when it comes to Tourette's. The video was great though, so keep it up.

  18. It's alright, Anonymous2. Most of us have things that get under our skin. I have a list of things that offend me too.

    Simon is a physician and, as I do, has an odd sense of humour that sometimes offends. He is also compassionate. But being a shit disturber, I think he would only be looking at a way to screw with the system. His comment has more to do with that than mocking those suffering from Tourettes.

    I have known a couple of people with Tourettes. Certainly not an easy time at all.

  19. Buldinn ShetlandFriday, October 21, 2011

    I have this same "fear"... Though I just hate the sound of it being torn apart and the very mention of the evil cottony bastards (making me cringe as I type this) makes my teeth feel weird. I can't explain the feeling I get when I am around this crap, it's just terrible.

    1. Cotton is the most disgusting and scary thing ever! I really thought I was the onnly oe who felt this way!

  20. I can't believe there is someone else who suffers from the same thing and there's even a name!

  21. If somebody I knew did that to me I would freeze up and cry... That's so cruel... It's sick... The thought of cotton balls sends shivers down my spine! UGH! This video is torture... Torture... No. No. No.

  22. This was hilarious. As I am a fellow sufferer of sidonglophobia, uggh, I could feel his pain and anger. Its only funny because I would react the same way, other than that the prank was so mean!

  23. you are all assholes. it's not funny to exploit phobias, especially this one, because fuck you.

  24. This is horrible. My worst nightmare.

  25. Both me and my brother suffer from this. It's quite disabilitating. My kids hide cotton balls in my coat and my friends tease a lot. I try to take it all with a grain of salt and laugh when I can.

    It really is a horrible feeling though. The sickness that overcomes you, your palms start sweat and it's hard to breathe. The though of touching or the sound/sensation of a cotton ball pulling apart makes me panic. I've tried exposure therapy, hypnosis, etc. nothing seems to work. It seems to be more of a neurological misfire more than a psychological hurdle.

    Best of luck to other sufferers.

  26. i have sidonglobophobia . i found this after searching how rare it is.\
    My first question is How could you stand to even be in the same room as them. if I see them I shiver and cry. I run from it. I can't open a bottle of asprin by myself and last week i slapped my orthodontist for stuffing two in my mouth.
    you're strong.



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