...a potent blend of Miss Manners and Batman

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bless Me Father for I Have Sneezed

The only thing that ranks with (or rankles as much as) mindless compliments mindless blessing.

Let's say I have to sneeze suddenly on the bus. I try to keep it quiet so as not to disturb everyone. Invariably, however, someone will bless me for my sneeze. Now I'm expected to acknowledge their kindness (What a good Samaritan!) by saying Thanks. It's a whole chain of meaningless and unintended pseudo-niceness all because I couldn't hold back some mucus.

Sneezing is a great way to get something tricky out of your nose. If you want to pass off a lot of germs at one time, sneezing is for you. It's even great as a way of getting the attention of someone all the way across the other side of a crowded courtroom. Yell during a trial and you're liable to be in contempt of court, but sneeze at 100 decibels and the judge will probably ignore it even while the bailiff hands you a tissue. Yet we persist with our archaic "Bless you"s even tho we all know that there is nothing sacred or healthy about sneezing.

Farting, on the other hand, is a great way to make yourself feel better without causing harm to those in the vicinity (vicinity being loosely defined as 'within smelt-it/dealt-it range'). But do people ever say "Bless you" after a fart? Hardly! Freewheeling sneezers are practically canonized, while innocent farters are relegated to the back of the bus.

Let's begin a trend: The next time someone let's loose with a stinker, just smile as you wave your hand and say, "Well, better out than in!"

You go first.

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About Me

My pesky alter ego who will set you right if you break one of the unwritten rules of getting along