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  • Paul Davidson

Bless You or Cough-It-Easy?

Let’s pretend you just coughed.

Whether or not you believe me, I have been around this situation many times in my life so far. The situation where I’m sitting near someone and they, yes you guesed it… coughed. I usually turn to people who have just coughed and I say to them, “Bless you.” And they usually turn to me and (get this) say, “Thank you.”

Blasphemy.

I usually then stop them and say, “Um, did you even just sneeze just then?” to which they usually reply, “No, I coughed actually…” to which I say, “So, you coughed and when I offered up my blessings to you, you just took them even though you never sneezed in the first place?”

“Yes, I did.”

So wrong. Totally completely wrong. If you’re one of those people who do those hybrid cough/sneeze things that make people think you sneezed and then you’re blessed by other people who think you sneezed and then you say thank you without actually pointing out to everyone that in fact, you didn’t sneeze at all but it was really a cough — you are destroying the Middle Age tradition, rooted in religion, to rid your body of the spirits that initally caused that sneeze to come out.

You are a fake.

I have started to see this practice increase over time and I have now figured out a sure-fire way to guard against giving away free blessings to fake-sneezers. It goes something like this:

Scenario #1: Someone sneezes.

Me: Did you just sneeze?

Them: Yes, I did. Why?

Me: Oh. Nothing. Bless you, by the way.

Them: Oh! Thank you.

See how rewarding it is when everyone’s honest about their body’s expelling of mucus? But how do you handle the same situation when it’s, in reality, a cough-like cough/sneeze?

Scenario #2: Someone coughs.

Me: Did you just sneeze?

Them: No. I coughed.

Me: Well, cough-it-easy, then.

Them: Cough it easy?

Me: Yeah, it’s like ‘bless you’ for a sneeze… but it’s for a cough.

Them: Oh.

See? Subtle, but it is the perfect solution in (a) determining the type of body reaction and (b) reacting appropriately. Now, you’ll never have to give away your valuable ‘bless you’ blessings to those freaky hybrid cough/sneezers who are going around this world snaking up your blessings for quirky sounding coughs.

No need to thank me. That’s what I’m here for.

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