I just got over a bad cold with lots of sneezing and coughing. My nose runneth over. Whenever I sneezed, people responded with “God bless you.” I just don’t know what God has to do with my sneezing, or why I should be blessed for spreading germs, but I utter the same for others when they sneeze. If anybody near me sneezes be they friend or stranger, I am the first to shout out, “God bless you.” I will do it for a second sneeze, but that's my limit. We all have to draw a line somewhere. If the person insists on sneezing a third or fourth time, I remain silent. I don’t know why.
I don’t have a clue why we bless people when they sneeze. We don’t do it when they cough, and a cough is no less worthy of a blessing than a sneeze, or at least, I don’t think so. I hate when people bless me when I cough thinking it's a sneeze.
I looked up the derivation of this strange tradition online, which as we all know by now is the tree of knowledge. Apparently the concept of wishing somebody well after they sneeze has been around for thousands of years which only proves that some bad habits are hard to kick.
Pope Gregory the Great used the expression “God Bless You” in the sixth century during the bubonic plague, although the expression was considerably less efficacious in curing the plague than modern medicine.
The only other time in my life when people uttered “God Bless You” in my presence is when I turned 70 a few months ago. Nobody asked God to bless me when I was 20 or 50 or even 60, but once I reached the ripe age of 70, all of a sudden I deserved a “God Bless You.” It’s not like I won an Olympic gold metal, or the Nobel Peace Prize, but apparently being able to get out of bed and stand erect at the age of 70 merits a “God Bless You.” I guess that’s just as great an achievement as a sneeze.