drawing the line

When people sneeze, I do The Right Thing and I say “bless you.”

I wish there was something better to say, but there really isn’t.  Seinfeld had the best suggestion, saying that you should be able to tell the person “You’re sooo good looking.”  But we all know that things aren’t as awesome and great as they are in Seinfeld because if they were, no one would have ever heard of Tyler Perry.

There are limitations on my “bless yous” though.

When someone sneezes too far away, I will not Bless Them, because although it would be quite funny to people, I am not going to stand up in the middle of the room and yell, “BLESS YOU!” to the sneezer to make sure they hear me.

Because if the sneezer doesn’t hear my blessing, then what’s the point?  Obviously there is no value in Doing Nice Things if no one notices and smiles at you and maybe thinks, “Man, he is just a really great person.”

And if you’re a multiple sneezer, good luck my friend.

One sneeze – I am on top of it.  Blessing you before the snot hits your keyboard.

Two sneezes – I am still there, though a little more hesitant.  I might even give you a look suggesting, “Okay, I think we’re all finished here.”

Three sneezes?

You are on your own buddy.

You’ll be looking around to your left, to your right, hoping and praying for someone – anyone – to bless you.  But it won’t be me.  I’m not going to sit around and bless you after every sneeze like some kind of idiot.

I also won’t dish out blessings to people I don’t know.  If we’re friends, then you can count on me to bless your dumb ass every day of the year, but if you’re just some random person on the street, forget about it.

You’ve got to get your “bless yous” from someone else, because I’ll just keep moving and leave you cold and lonely like Britney left her kids.

The way I see it, I’ve got to have my limits, otherwise everything would be chaotic.

And no, of course I don’t ever say “gesundheit.”

I’m not some kind of weirdo.


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56 responses to “drawing the line

  1. Ben

    I mean c’mon, multiple sneezers, who do you think we are? The pope?


  2. i tend to dole out “bleshou” more than anything else. and when someone across the room sneezes i tend to send it out so delayed that it takes them a moment to realize i’m talking to them. not because i’m retarded or too busy at the time, but i feel like people that are closer to them should say it. and when i realize they don’t i then do it myself. what drives me insane though? when i sneeze and no one says a Damn Thing! i could burst into tears right then. it’s so RUDE!

  3. I always opt for “salute!” or “Did you get any on you?”

  4. I myself am a multiple sneezer, and I am actually relieved when people don’t continue to bless me after each one. Draws too much attention!

    Isn’t it strange that we excuse ourselves after any other bodily function (burps, farts, coughs,) yet when we sneeze, it’s the responsibility of others to say something?

  5. Miz

    Instead of that crazy german word, I’ve given it a good ol’ Minnesota twist…
    “Kazoo-tight” lol, gotta love the midwest! 😉

  6. Miz

    ….And I wonder WHY I’m single!

  7. Matt

    People I dont know do not get blessed by me. Too many times have I reached out and blessed them, then they do not acknowledge or say thank you.

    And that makes me angry.

  8. I almost always sneeze 3 times. Really, a “bless you” after every one? Not necessary. But all my friends know that there will be 3, so they wait.

  9. I bless everyone, even strangers. I’m nice like that.

    If I sneeze and no-one’s around “Bless me”. Hey, I deserve to be blessed too.

  10. deutlich

    gesundheit is all i ever say for such a thing

    all it means is “good health” which I much prefer over a blessing… considering I’m an atheist and all.

  11. When someone sneezes three times I usually just say something like “my, someone’s looking for attention today!”

    There’s no need for the triple sneeze. It’s just obnoxious.

  12. I like Seinfield’s suggestion. But I guess it should only be used when appropriate.

  13. k8

    Well, history has it that the devil is coming out of you when you sneeze – thus the blessing that you are now clean. The multiple sneezers? They’re just trying to keep the demons in, they don’t want to be clean anyway.

  14. i like to scream “bless you” to people. it is the only thing that warms my heart.

  15. There are certain times when I think it’s OK to “bless you” a stranger. Like when you’re alone in the elevator or when you’re still negotiating a price with the hooker you’re mostly certain isn’t a cop or a dude. Other than that, though, they’re on their own.

  16. I actually have blessed strangers. I passed a dude on the street a few weeks ago and blessed him while I was passing. I don’t know if he thought I was nice or crazy but either way he was confused as hell b/c by the time he looked up from the sneeze I was half a block away.

  17. My friend Steff is a multiple sneezer. She sneezes no less than 10 times each time – all right in a row kind of cute like. Meanwhile I just sit there and wait with a “bless you” on the tip of my tongue. It’s hard for me to wait though so sometimes I just blurt it out.

  18. I always give a two second delay in the blessing process – just in case another sneeze comes up. Sometimes I bless strangers but mostly because I don’t realize until it’s halfway out of my mouth already.

  19. lol this is hilarious to me because my college roommate used to sneeze like clockwork every morning around 7Am for a good 10 minutes! It would annoy the hell out of me! Make me want to scream or some how put a plug in her! repetitious sneezing is so effing annoying! and I always say “God Bless You” for the entire round…. Im not saying it more than once! If you’ve been blessed the first time you will be blessed for everything there after lol

  20. Nick McGivney

    Standing up and yelling ‘Bless you!’ is just about the funniest thing you could do to help a distant sneezer. Except deadly. Those bugs can travel up to forty metres (that’s three feet and three inches’ times forty) so they’re probably right in your face anyway. And you’re opening your mouth wiide to yell ‘Bless you!’?? Comedy can turn to tragedy IN AN INSTANT at times like these. Oh how they all laughed at my loud rebel bless yell. Except now they’re ALL DEAD. Outbreak? Remember? 28 Days Later?? Ok? Can I go now?

  21. ben – Exactly.

    jenny – Don’t cry, it’s just because people don’t know you and in general are not nice. I am one of those people.

    unbearable – Those are two fine choices.

    erin – Hahaha – that’s a good point!

    miz – I don’t know if you have to love the Midwest.

    matt – It’s very annoying, I agree.

    sassy – They know you well.

    nutty – If I am there, I will. I promise.

    deutlich – I knew you were gonna defend that word!

    kristen – Hahaha – yes!

    marie – Yes, you don’t want to go telling lies.

    k8 – Dirty bitches.

    julie – Hahaha – that sounds about right.

    justin – Right. It is always nice to bless the hookers. They’re people too!

    stealth – But then it was wasted!

    mindy – You are nicer than me. Sometimes.

    alice – You should always think before being unnecessarily nice to others.

    doll – I can’t believe you didn’t suffocate the roommate in his/her sleep.

    nick – You my friend, have thought this out well. I applaud you.

  22. nancypearlwannabe

    There’s a woman at my school who always says “Bless me!” after she sneezes before anyone else can get to it.

    It drives me bonkers.

  23. my husband is a triple sneezer. i just give him a preemptive “bless you 3 times” after the first sneeze.

  24. I actually always wish there was something you could say while someone is coughing. Instead you have to wait as they have a coughing fit, with a look on your face like “ugh, here we go,” and then when they are done THEY have to excuse themselves. And then you just pick up the conversation as though nothing happened.

    It’s awkward for everyone.

  25. As it’s a hardcore allergy day, awesome post. Personally, I cannot do less than 3 sneezes in a row. My personal record is 13 consecutive. You don’t need to bless more than once. It gets annoying hearing it over & over and knowing you can’t pause to warn bystanders that it’s just gonna keep happening.

  26. My friends have a three sneeze rule – three is greeted with a warning but after four you are shunned for the day. It is pretty mature overall.

  27. did you ever see the simpsons episode where milhouse explains why people say ‘bless you’? it’s because you sneeze out your soul and when someone says ‘bless you’ it gets jammed back up your nose.

    makes sense to me!

  28. Well, when people don’t say “Bless you” I say “Bless me” to myself. Sad, I know, but SOMEONE has to bless me.

  29. eh, if I “bless you” then you are truly blessed because that means I felt the need to “make an effort”.

    Trust me, that doesn’t happen often…

  30. megkathleen

    I had a friend who refused to say “Bless You” because she felt she didn’t have the power to bless people and she didn’t say “God bless you” because she didn’t believe in God. Instead, she’d just give them the stink eye.

  31. Who is Tyler Perry? And Britney left her kids? I’m a multiple sneezer.

    Goddamn not having a television.

  32. ^@melissalion – not knowing who Tyler Perry is has tremendously added value to your life

  33. That’s funny because I sneezed right before reading this, and I got blessed by the lady at work that I thought hated me. Maybe I need to re-evaluate our relationship. And I’m a big fan of the “bless you” despite being no fan of “the religion.” I wonder what that means.

  34. My friend once sneezed 32 times in a row. We told him to stop it and then starting throwing stuff at him

    This did not help.

  35. I like “gesundheit”. I know it means health, but if you spit it out a little bit it sounds like you’re sneezing back in your own little sneezy language. You know. Empathy. Of course, I’m also not sure anyone wants to be blessed by an unlucky atheist.

  36. nancy pearl – She’s a little excitable huh?

    libby – You are efficient!

    hollywood – I think you should work on that project and let me know what you come up with.

    grace – Good god! 13 is a lot. I would have stopped, so we’d still be friends.

    narm – Sounds good to me.

    sarah – Yes I did. That was an old one, before it started to suck.

    andy – At least you are thinking of your best interests.

    inreallife – Completely understandable.

    megkathleen – Wow – that sounds like one weird ass person.

    melissa – He makes very bad movies, just don’t even worry about it.

    noelle – You should give her a hug.

    rs – It didn’t???

    alex – Probably not.

  37. My company is pretty small. And our offices are all kinda far apart (and mine’s the farthest!)… we are all standing in our doorways yelling all kinds of stuff because we are too lazy to walk… or, y’know, email. We pretty much just yell a lot.

    INCLUDING “bless you”s.

    And that’s my point.

  38. Miz

    Fine! then…. I sure do love the Midwest eh! 😉

  39. gesundheit is awesome. So awesome that I think if I had a kid, it would be his/her middle name.

  40. Dave wont say bless you because of it’s religious connotation. So he says Chester. It works.

  41. I love this post. My dad takes it as an insult if we don’t bless him *immediately* after he sneezes. He’s not usually a multiple sneezer, so we are pretty happy to oblige with a bless you when the occasion arises.

    There is someone in my office, however, who completely embellishes his sneezes. He shakes the walls. I know he’s doing it on purpose for attention. He gets nothing from me.


  42. “I also won’t dish out blessings to people I don’t know.”

    You’re not the Pope for Christ’s sake.

  43. My coworker knows my sneeze and will yell “BLESS YOU” from across the office.

    I find this kind of sweet, since no one else in this godforsaken place says “Bless You.”

  44. Aside from occasionally using the French phrase for “Bless You,” I opt for the lazy version: “blehshoo.” It works well.

    And I’m the crazy girl getting looks from strangers for her overt politeness when a person I do not know sneezes. What can I say? Blehshoo is a reflex.

  45. I’m really glad you brought attention to this issue. I’m totally on board. I don’t say gesundheit (hi mouthful) but I will say “bless you” at least twice if people rapid sneeze, then I tell them to stop it.

  46. I only say “gesundheit.” I don’t want to be blessed or to bless any body.

  47. The receptionist where I work says “bless you” every freakin sneeze. I could sneeze 20 times in a row and she’d keep saying it. Annoying.

  48. you would never bless me if that’s the case, i’m a five sneeze minimum girl, it’s a little crazy.

  49. As much as you don’t say it, I think it’s rad you actually know how to spell “gesundheit.”

  50. I’m a multiple sneezer. My personal best is 8 sneezes in a row. It amazes people how “tiny” my sneezes are so I usually don’t get blessed. I get things like “Damn.. you sneeze like a kitten” or “was that a sneeze or a giggle?”.

  51. I’m also a multiple sneezer (3 times in a row, always), and often get a look of amusement over the sound of my sneezes (e-hoo!), and then a look of impatience once the blessor realizes that I have two more sneezes left.

    My friends that know my sneeze pattern have stopped blessing me long ago.

  52. my sneezes are really loud so i’ve trained myself to muffle them. usually in public people cant even tell ive sneezed. then i get offended when no one says gesundheit…or in your case, bless you.

  53. wait around two seconds after the first sneeze if the person has been known to be a multiple sneezer. if more follow, you’ll know it within the first two seconds. no lie. i’ve got a friend who will do 7 or 8 at a time, so i hold off until i know they’re done, then do a blanket ‘bless you’. works every time.

  54. I never say Bless you. Right when they’re at the height of the sneeze I yell, “There’s a bug on you!”

  55. That’s hilarious – I definitely look around for people to say “Bless you” to me when I sneeze. I don’t care if I’m in a room full of strangers… I just sneezed, dammit. My eyeballs could have popped out of my head! Bless me!!

  56. longredcape

    This post made me laugh.


    I was talking on the phone with my New Potential Boyfriend, and he was doing the multiple sneeze thing, and I stopped after two “bless you”s. Any more than two is just asking WAY too much. Even from a guy I am trying to impress.

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