I love lists. I keep lists for every conceivable thing. Bill once joked that I should have a list of my lists. I handed him a copy. I have a serious list-making disorder. If I lost my lists, I don’t think I could go on.
Then it occurred to me that this fear of losing my lists might be a phobia. Do I have a phobia? I went to Google and typed in “fear of losing lists.” That got me a page called “The List of Phobias.” Now we’re talking! Phobias…in list form…yes! I was sure to find my answer there! I found a few phobias that seemed to hit a bit too close to home, but nothing on losing one’s lists.
Google failed me. So naturally, I decided to make up my own name for this fear. The first thing that came to mind was Checkboxophobia. Sadly, this didn’t fit because it sounded like a fear of checkboxes and that is the opposite of what I wanted. I like checkboxes, I NEED checkboxes. Suddenly I had a fear of losing checkboxes…wait, what I’m losing is my progress toward solving my original problem.
Once I composed myself after that whole checkbox fiasco, I pondered what described my probable phobia. The things I came up with were all wrong. They were too complicated or too long. Then I remembered Occam’s razor. Occam’s razor is the principle that “other things being equal, simpler explanations are generally better than more complex ones”
I kicked myself for not having that quote in my list of quotes, but then I remembered that this was a principle and I didn’t have a list for those. That made me feel a little better. Then I thought about the fact that I had neglected to create a “principles” list and that made me depressed. Thankfully, I didn’t start my list of principles right then. It was a little dicey there for a bit, but I decided to stay the course. My immediate problem was to coin a word for the fear of losing one’s lists. Coining a word for forgetting to create a list was way down on my…ummm…you know…list!
Back to Occam. Using his principle made perfect sense. The word had to be distilled to its essence, I had to shave it to the bone. I decided to call this fear “listlessophobia.” It was short and it was descriptive.
Then it occurred to me that “listless” was already a word. How could I use it to describe my phobia? I consulted one of my favorite lists, the dictionary. The definition of “listless” was “sluggish, torpid, inert, lifeless” Hmmm, that’s exactly how I would feel if I lost my lists! Listlessophobia it is! Perfect!