If you've ever spent more than half a day with me, you'd know that I'm a sneezer. Some say that "She's the most sneeziest person I know!" I'm allergic to pretty much all outside/natural forces, my job ( thank you hospitals for having such dry air), and my friends. Not to sound like the most racist person ever; but my whole life I've surrounded myself with the fairer race (literally all of my friends are white), and have noticed that I'm much more scratchy and sneezy when I'm with 'my people'. I've known this since the sixth grade, I've tried to deny this racist truth, but there it is. I sneeze less around family than friends.
I never sneeze just once. And my sneezes aren't what you would call normal in size or sound. I've been called "sqeeky" "baby" and my favorite "a cat", and often I hear that it's "the cutest sneeze I've ever heard". I swear, I'm not holding anything in, its always been this way; and... I'm also pretty sure that this is an inherited trait.
The first time that I heard my maternal
grandmother sneeze I thought that an intruder had entered from the opposite side of the house and began bludgeoning her to death. The second time, we were in the kitchen, and I thought we may have a rat infestation. High pitched, loud, and screechy are the
words that come to mind when I think of Grammy's sneeze.
One of my close cousins has a sneeze that literally sounds like she's saying "Ee-Q" in her best baby voice; calm and collected every time.
Back to my demure sneeze sets; when you sneeze as much as I do and as uniquely as I do, you attract a good bit of attention and "bless yous." Growing up in a conservative family of a certain religion, I/we never said "bless you." I am always polite and I'm sure to thank all of my Blessers, but I have always felt guilty for always receiving and never giving. But not believing in the history of the phrase brings me some comfort.
Why do we say "Bless You" anyways? So we've been Blessing each other since the dawn of time ~77AD. It was believed that every time you sneezed, your soul was trying to escape your body, someone needed to "Bless you" before the devil or other baddies took hold of your newly vulnerable state. Later, the Catholic church adapted the saying as more of a blessing for good health, or final rites for those falling ill with the plague.
So, why do YOU say "Bless You"?
Even though I've denounced religion, I still don't say it, because I don't play into or believe in these myths; but I thrive to be polite. I think I am going to make a conscious effort to say "Gesundheit!" Gesundheit simply means good health, and that is polite enough for me.