Sneeze Blessings

Updated: Feb 6, 2021

I just sneezed. Did you hear me? If you did, why didn’t you throw a ‘God bless you’ my way? Don’t you think I deserve one?

I can appreciate it if you didn’t hear me sneeze. You obviously can’t toss special wishes my way if you don’t know that I have committed an act for which such a response would be appropriate. If I am in one room and you are in another, sound does have its limitations.

But if you do hear me, or if I think that you should, what up with that? Everyone knows that God wants his blessing to be bestowed upon sneezers. In case you didn’t know, when you sneeze, awhoosh of air enters and exits the lungs and disrupts the heart’s normal rhythm. This is serious stuff. Given this most serious physiological phenomenon, it is incumbent upon us to give sneezers something back in return to replenish that which is lost. And many sneezers can’t just stop at one; some automatically will give you a double dose (you can count on it) and some are three-peaters. Anything beyond that is just nuts. Repetitive sneezing leaves the sneezer momentarily dazed and confused. How can you not understand how important it would be to bestow a blessing upon a person who is oh so vulnerable at that point in time?

Perhaps you can best appreciate my disdain for you and your kind in your failure to bless me when I find it necessary to call your faux pas to your attention by going out of my way to pronounce a blessing upon myself after I sneeze and receive none in return. I sneeze and listen for the appropriate response. Hearing none, I then announce, “God bless me.” I do this to make certain that all within earshot are aware of two things: 1) I sneezed; and 2) you are all garbage for putting me in the position for having to lay one on myself. I hope you all can live with yourself in peace because the next time you sneeze you will receive no blessing from me.

If you cough and don’t sneeze and I say “God bless you”, I am sure you think that is nice, although undeserving. If you don’t correct me and accept an undeserving blessing, that is blasphemous. It is your responsibility to acknowledge the blessing and reject it on the grounds that the circumstances under which it is given are not justified. Anything less is both disrespectful and the sign of a person who does not fully appreciate the worth of these special blessings.

I suppose you think I am making far too big a deal about all of this. The fact that you might think so is the root of the problem I have with you. Saying “God bless you” to someone who sneezes is a common courtesy that is part of polite society. It need not be relegated to only those persons you know. You can even say it to strangers. Trust me when I tell you that they appreciate it as much as friends, relatives and acquaintances. Perhaps, given the fact that it is unexpected, it is appreciated even more so. And remember, in case you have a problem with words with ‘God’ or ‘bless’ in them, you have options. There are other substitutes, such as ‘Gesundheit’, ‘salud’, ‘à tes/vos souhaits (“to your wishes”)’, ‘çok yaşa (“live long”)’, and even будьте здоровы (“be healthy”)’. Even ‘Yo’ might be better than nothing. Just say something.

Thank you for letting me get this off my chest as it has been bothering me for a long time. I can’t stand your rude blessing-depriving behavior and I certainly hope you don’t expect to receive sneeze blessings from people to whom you are unable to reciprocate with equal vigor. Not occasional or infrequent blessings when you feel like it; but consistent and meaningful ones at the appropriate time. If you are going to give a half-hearted blessing, don’t bother. It will not be well received or appreciated. Given the fact that I needed to bring this matter to your attention, neither are you.


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