There are days that you awake and the first thought in your head is a H.P. Lovecraft quote. Those are dark days, doused in dread.
We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.
You look around, you look around, and you can’t help but think: the world is off its axis. Your world is off its axis. You run through the routine to calm yourself, to pinpoint the source. Is it Viggo? Is Viggo Mortensen still working? How could that John Wick sequel let you down so much? Do people still disagree that 1995 was the greatest year in American cinema?
But no. That’s not it. Those are rational fears. Well-founded anxieties rooted in a practical world that runs on reason. That creeping feeling on those Lovecraft days comes at you sideways, from another place. A weirder place.
Anatidaephobia is the fear of ducks. But not just, like, ducks, and that’s it. Famously there is more to it. Specifically:
Anatidaephobics don’t necessarily need to be near a duck for their anxiety to manifest, their distress occurs because they simply believe that somewhere out there, no matter what they are doing, a duck is sitting there waiting and watching.
I have this with Eddie Redmayne.
I don’t know where Eddie Redmayne is right now. Due to a concerted effort, as well as the overlapping bit in the Venn diagram of ‘Movies Eddie Redmayne Chooses To Star In’ and ‘Movies I Am Interested In’ being pretty much negligible, most of the time I have no idea as to the whereabouts of the Eton-graduate-turned-model-turned-actor. He spends precious little time in the halls of my awareness. But sometimes I catch a glimpse, and that’s all it takes. Maybe he tells an anecdote on a chat show. Maybe a poster goes up for another Oscar-bait prestige project with his face featuring, make-up and Photoshop doing nothing to provide a buffer zone between Him and Me. Either way that’s enough to let him in. Now he stalks the shadows of my mind, probably pouting, and I can’t help but think:
Is he behind me? Right now? Where I can’t see him?
What if he’s behind you? You laugh, but what if Eddie Redmayne is behind you right now? Can you be so sure he is not? You can turn around to check, to disperse the shadows of dread and uncertainty with the glare of empirical knowledge, but it doesn’t work, does it? He might have moved as you moved. He might still be there.
But maybe it isn’t so similar to Anatidaephobia. That fear does seem to be less concerned with a duck’s immediate physical presence. Probably good to check another source. ‘Often, they swoop down to steal food or simply take a nip,’ it says, about the ducks.
Actually, I think my thing is similar to Anatidaephobia.