Bless you

Friendly Atheist asks, “What happens if you don’t bless someone after they sneeze?”  Well.  Let me tell you.

Let me first say that I have never been a “bless you”-er.  It just never really occurs to me.  I understand that it’s just being polite, and that nobody really thinks my soul is trying to get out of my body.  I just don’t care.  I’ll fetch you some water if you are coughing, but sneezing… not important.

Here’s a little story for you.

A few years back, I had a cold, and of course I was sneezing all over the place.  Everyone was blessing me, all day, every day; strangers and family and housemates, and I had had it.  “That’s it!” I shouted, as I was at my computer. “The next person that blesses me is going to regret it!”  Only one other person was in the house, and he laughed and said okay, he wouldn’t do it anymore.

Then another person wanders in the house, turns on the Gamecube, and starts playing Mario Cart.  (Man, I miss those days.)  About five minutes into that, I sneeze. 

“Bless you,” person two says.

“Eat dirt and die!” I yelled at him.

Then me and person one laughed for about ten minutes, while the other person waits for us to stop and explain.  We do so.  He laughs.  Video games continue.  (I was playing Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, if you were wondering.)

So that’s me and bless-you-ing.  I don’t say it, and if people say it over and over to me, it annoys me.

Then I became an atheist.  And I guess my continued refusal to say “bless you” really started to bother my husband.  I’m sure it was one of those things that just becomes a symbol: he was angry that I wasn’t a Christian, and every time I didn’t bless him after he sneezed, he was reminded.  He started to peer-pressure me with the puppydog eyes and make me say it after he sneezed, and I would roll my eyes and say it.  Then he wanted me to say “God bless you.”  And I tried to draw the line.  “I don’t believe in god,” I would say, “Why should I ask him to bless you?”

“It’s polite,” my husband would say.  So for the sake of peace, I went on saying “bless you” to his sneezes whenever I thought of it, which, honestly, wasn’t very often.  Then one day I forgot to say anything, and he kinda flipped out.  He made it clear he expected me to say “God bless you” every time he sneezed, because he was very offended that I wouldn’t do this little thing for him.  I accused him of bullying me, and he said it’s not bullying because he’s not physically hurting me. 

“Are you going to let me say no?” I asked. 


“Don’t you think that’s bullying?”

We argued for a couple minutes and, because he said it was very important to him, I finally agreed to say it.  (I wasn’t really expecting him to hold me to it because I knew that later, he would realize he had lost his temper and apologize.)

After that was settled, I asked, “Now, are you really expecting me to go to church with you when I have told you how important it is to me that I not go back to that church?”  (Ha!  He had been talking about it all week.)

To his credit, he immediately said no, he didn’t expect me to go to church when I didn’t like it.  I am glad I brought it up because if I hadn’t, I was pretty sure I knew how it was going to go: he would keep mentioning it all week, and I wouldn’t respond because I had already told him my stand, and then Sunday morning he would say “Let’s go,” and I would say no, and he would be sad and do the puppydog eyes and I would probably go to church to make him feel better.

Anyways, that doesn’t happen any more. 

So the moral of the story is: Eat dirt and die!


One Response to “Bless you”

  1. temaskian Says:

    I don’t know why, but your stories remind me of Huckleberry Finn. So true and so funny at the same time.

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