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by Michael Fryd

I am unburdened by common run of the mill fears of heights, clowns, open or closed spaces (your choice), snakes, or things that go bump in the night, but faced with the intrusive tyranny of a form full of aggressively probing questions that MUST be answered in nonnegotiable arbitrary spaces I curl up in a fetal position; right thumb buried in mouth while the left hand seeks refuge deep between the thighs, cupped protectively around my genitalia.

I was relieved to hear from my therapist I wasn’t the only one afflicted with Entypophobia; the fear of forms. It wasn’t in the top forty on the neurosis hit parade, but its obscurity, he opined, was likely caused by its sufferers’ inability to face, never mind follow the rigid instructions for setting up our trauma’s Facebook page.

He thought my phobia was likely triggered the first time I tried to fit my full name, Maui Wowee Buenafortuna Shokolowsky in the mingy space allocated on a form; my parents, Seymour Shokolowsky and Mary Angela Buenafortuna, incurable romantics, named me after the contents of a joint they shared the night I was conceived.

Learning I wasn’t alone gave me courage. Like Rosa Parks, I knew the time had come to take a stand, or in her case a seat. It was time for the masses of long-suffering entypophobiacs to rise up against the cruel oppression of tyrannical bureaucracy; we had nothing to lose but the paper shackles that enslaved us.

I was amazed at the enthusiastic response I received to my ad on Craig’s list. Our first meeting was a huge success. We exchanged horror stories “Have you ever had to fill out a Chinese visa application?” Or, “How about those bastards at eHarmony?” Some of the attendees, like the little people on the set of the Wizard of Oz, excited to meet fellow sufferers for the first time, disappeared into dark corners where they engaged in enthusiastic free form groping. The room was filled with emotion. We sang, “We shall overcome” and dreamt that someday we would be judged by the content of our character and not our ability to fill out a form. We yearned for the right to transmit our personal data in less oppressive ways. Someone suggested our motto should be “ Give us essay or give us death”. While this sounded a little hardcore for most us, it was taken up as a war cry by a spontaneously formed splinter group, RESIST (Radical Entypophobiacs Spurning the Injustice of Social Tyranny). They stormed out of the meeting chanting “ Forms are Whack give them the Sack”.

Those of us, who remained, the radical middle, agreed that while we weren’t ready to die for it, essay was an ideal solution. Instead of the impersonality and constrictions of one size fits all forms, each of us could write a page or two that best described his or her essence without spatial restrictions.

We were eager to storm the castle walls of the entypophile establishment, plant our flag, a blank page, and let documentary freedom ring, but none of us had any experience with organized revolutionary action so we settled for another meeting to plot against our oppressors but mainly to bask in the company of kindred spirits