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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Senior boy cringes when squeezing cotton balls

One ordinary day in fifth grade, senior Adam Hinshaw discovered something out of the ordinary. For an arts and crafts project, Hinshaw was instructed to make clouds by pulling apart cotton balls, but that’s when he discovered that he could not squeeze cotton balls without feeling pain.

“I couldn’t do it,” said Hinshaw. “It just hurt. That was my earliest memory of cotton balls. It’s a bad feeling and it gives me the chills.”

Hinshaw equates his fear of cotton balls with the feeling that people get when they hear the sound of nails on chalkboard.

“Whenever I squeeze a cotton ball, I get that,” he said.

Luckily for him, Hinshaw has few experiences with cotton balls. He does, however, recall one time at swim practice when the team was a playing a game that involved putting cotton balls over their eyes in their goggles.

“I couldn’t do it. My coach excused me from the game.”

Although people believe him and respect his fear (“Nobody tortures me,” he said), Hinshaw finds it difficult to explain what it is about this seemingly innocuous object that scares him.

“The high quality ones are fine,” said Hinshaw. “I can hold them in my hand, but once I start to squeeze them, the fabric rubbing together… it’s hard to explain.”

Hinshaw’s condition is not unique. The fear of cotton balls is known as “sidonglobophobia.”

“There’s other people out there,” Hinshaw said. “Look it up on Google.”

Despite his rare encounters with cotton balls, Hinshaw finds no need to overcome his fear.

“It’s not that big of a deal; it’s not affecting my life or anything,” Hinshaw said. “There’s substitutes for cotton balls out there.”

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