Thursday, March 10, 2011


I was sitting in a library the other day, and the guy a couple tables over sneezed.


Of course, as you know, this put me in a quandary. Bless him? I mean, I don't know him or anything, so why would he expect this perfect stranger to cast blessings on him?

And if I did, you know what he's supposed to do? He should thank me for my blessing.

Strangers, one offering a blessing somewhat at the pressure of society, which expects us to bless the sneezer. It's a pretty rigid formula and we are all expected to satisfy our roles.

And why are we blessing them?

There are conflicting reports on the origins. Some said it came from when the Plague was wiping out entire populations, and a sneeze was thought to precede illness, so the blessing was supposed to ward off sickness. Another school of thought was that your heart stopped during a sneeze, so blessing someone kept a demon from getting in while you were temporarily dead.

Whatever the origins, for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, society says we have to perform this little ritual anytime anyone sneezes.

But what if the person is a satanic worshipper? What if they don't want someone to bless them? What if my blessing ruined any chance he had of achieving his goal of being possessed by a demon?

I could ruin his whole life!

So what did I do? The pressure was killing me, so of course I blessed him. and he wasn't a devil worshipper, so he thanked me.

Society was appeased.

When I got home, my cat sneezed.

What now?


  1. People rarely pay attention to social rules anymore. People just don't think about things like that now. The "thank you", "please", you're welcome", and "bless you" are becoming a social style of the past. I'm middle-aged so I do this social thing and will continue to do so but I don't expect young people to take up what I do.