Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blessing Sneezers

How many times can someone sneeze before you stop saying "bless you?" Obviously the first time they sneeze they get a "bless you" and for the most part they do the second time is well, but what about the third time? The fourth? If someone has a sneezing fit spanning more than four sneezes is it permissible to wait until the end of it and then hit them with one big "bless you" that's to be applied evenly over all of the sneezes?

I find that most people stop after two sneezes, but why? Aren't those people sneezing incessantly more deserving of our blessing? Don't they need it more? What's the whole thing with blessing sneezers anyway? What's so unholy about sneezing? Or holy?

21 comments:

Leslie said...

Hmmmm I feel you.... I think for the constant sneezers... three " bless you"s are good. After that a concerned look is enough....as well as a tissue. lol I know that there is a reason that sneezers get blessed with "bless you"s I just forget why, which is no help for you now. lol Its not that they are unholy tho...

ktpotatie said...

i usually ignore the situation until i know the "sneeze session" is complete. then i give the "bless you." that might not be good manners, but oh well. anyway, a lot of times people sneak in another sneeze after i've already blessed them. do they really need to be blessed again, really? i don't think that you can rack up "bless you's" like poker chips, can you? if so, the people who sneeze around me are getting the short end of the stick. oh well

Heron said...

I heard the reason for blessing when sneezing is your heart skips a beat when you sneeze, so its like a "hey, I'm glad you made it with your heart stopping and all."

I've never been around someone sneezing a crazy amount of times, but I'd probably keep saying bless you. I'd say it in different ways each time though to have fun with it.

Jared Zwerling said...

Saying bless you is nourishment. You're nourishing a sickness and the evil spirits that have left the soul.

tineRz said...

im usually the one who sneezes uncontrollably lol, if i sneeze once expect like 4 or 5 more ..

but when its someone sneezing yeah most of the time i say bless you about twice, & if they keep going i just wait till they stop for the last bless you

Dwight said...

I save my bless you until the end. Some times I get caught off guard though. I may say bless you two or three times and the sneezer suddenly goes crazy. By that time I just say fuck it and laugh.
As a teacher it can get annoying. In early spring and during the winter, the kids come in with these runny noses and sneeze constantly and you always have one smart ass in the class who wants to be funny and say bless you fifty times, or pretend to sneeze. Since I can't put a foot in their ass, I kick them out, and keep my job.

Lissette said...

You know, it's interesting because my experience with sneezers in med school has been that I don't hear very many "bless you"s at all. Many times, after realizing that I was the only one (in a lecture-hall full of 170 others) to bless a nearby sneezer I've wondered, why the silence???...we all heard it. could it be that people are paranoid of potentially offending others' spiritual preferences so they rather keep shut...[people tend to be really politically correct in a field as conservative as medicine so that makes sense]...or could it be that people in medicine are sooo indoctrinated in the western biomedical model that they rather throw a prescription at you than a blessing...or are they so engrossed in lecture that they don't even notice?...or are they so overcome by the threat of aerosol droplets impregnated by germs being shot into the air at 95mph that any goodwill toward mankind is obliterated. hmmm. but I digress. This is what I found regarding why the phrase "bless you" after a sneeze: "In Europe, principally in the Middle Ages, it was believed that one's life was in fact tied to one's breath - a belief reflected in the word "expire" (originally meaning "to exhale") eventually gaining the additional meaning of "to come to an end" or "to die". This connection, coupled with the unusual amount of breath expelled from the body during a sneeze, had likely led people to believe that sneezing could easily be fatal, which could thus explain the "God Bless you" response.

Now that that's all clear, salud to you and you and you...

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Violinuts said...

maybe you can find a good explanation in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, haha!!! *sneeze!!!*

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Chilly S said...

I usually say "God Bless You - if she exists".

Just said...

hahaha. i grew up w my papa who never sneezed only once, so i learned to pause after the first sneeze and wait til i knew he was done, and THEN i'd finally say "bless you".. just once.

Pigmul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pigmul said...

I happen to sneeze frequently at least 3 or 4 times a day, sometimes 2 or 3 in a row. I have someone who sits outside my office who blesses me every time. After hearing this over and over I have to admit it has become extremely annoying. I feel that her blessing me is more for her than it is for me perhaps because she has been conditioned since childhood that, that's what you do. I on the other hand, raised strict Christian, was not raised in a household where bless you was thrown around for sneezing. So, in a nutshell I can take it or leave it, but please do not overdo it. It makes it meaningless, almost like the convenience store clerk who asks "how are you doing?" and when you say "wonderful, how are you?" they don't respond. I have instructed the person who sits outside my office that, if she must, then only bless me on Mondays, one time, and that will cover the entire week.

Chilly S said...

Nice Pigmul - in Russian, when someone sneezes we say "Bood Zdarov" which means - be healthy. I think it's better to take "God" out of the equation - especially for something so minuscule as a sneeze.

There is also another Russian folklore that if you say something and someone else sneezes right after we say "Na Pravdu" - which means "For truth"... like the sneeze solidifies that whatever the other person said is true.

Peace!
Chillys.tv

Juan said...

En Espanol (Colombian) we say

Salu (Health) - 1st Sneeze
Dinero (Money)- 2nd Sneeze
Amor (Love) - 3rd Sneeze

If they Sneeze more than that "Ah No, que mas quiere???1"
(What more do you want?!)

Emch said...

I heard that it was believed in the middle ages that when you sneezed, your soul would momentarily blow out your nose and be vulnerable to being stolen by the devil before it could re-enter your body. Multiple sneezes really puts your soul out there and makes it quite probable your soul could be stolen by Satan.

Maternal said...

i guess people feel "your soul leaves you"..i think its BS...but then what about the ppl that bless themselves.

Mandee said...

The myth behind your heart skipping a beat when you sneaze is very wrong. The reason we say "God Bless you" is because Ancient man believed that breathe contained the spirit, or soul. Therefore, when sneezing, he feared that it was possible to lose the soul and leave an empty place for evil spirits to enter. All this could happen unless God prevented it, of course. Thus, a wish was spoken for God to bless that person. This is actually where the phrase "God bless you" first took its form.

Katie Cassady said...

I've taken several languages and if someone sneezes multiple times I run through the 5 ways I know how to say it. Once I'm out, I'm done.

Chilly S said...

sometimes when I sneeze I say "god bless the rhymes I manifest".