God Bless You
God Bless You
By Wes J. Pimentel
“Achoo”, “God bless you.” What is that? Why is it that the only action an American can perform worthy of a blessing from God nowadays is a sneeze? I believe this saying has absolutely nothing to do with God or a blessing at all. Think about the last time you said, “God bless you” to someone after a sneeze. Was it a sincere request for God to send down a beam of grace on the person to expedite their healing? I didn’t think so. You probably just said it because it’s what you say after people sneeze. What are we, Pavlov’s dog? We’re like a bunch of friggin’ robots, letting our social programming do all the thinking for us.
You would think it would take a little more than the expulsion of infectious agents from one’s sinuses to garner divine intervention. Well, not according to all the God-bless-you drones. Try this: the next time someone tells you about a significant accomplishment or they’re tooting their horn about some charitable action they performed, say “God bless you.” It’s amazing. The range of facial expressions that follow this remark are completely varied, but almost never convey anything close to the reception of blessings from above. They’re usually closer to being stupefied, dumbfounded, or trying-to-decipher-alienese. People act like you just made some completely irrelevant comment. You’d get the same range of expressions if you were to say, “Giraffes eat peanut butter.” I guess God has been relegated to only curing the “sniffles’ nowadays. God forbid God should be mentioned in what non-God-minded people consider non-God contexts.
Some people never miss an opportunity to attack a sneeze with the old “GBY”. What does this do for people? Do you feel like you’re accomplishing some noble duty? Does it count as a good deed to these people? I believe they want us to think they’re good people. To illustrate this point, I took up the habit of saying, “I’m a good person,” every time I heard someone sneeze. Nobody got it. Ever.
Now, I don’t say anything at all. For some reason this is a very controversial move. There are many sneezers out there who believe that by simply polluting my air with germs from their nasal cavities they’ve earned a shout-out to the big man. I obviously disagree. This offends many people. Sometimes I get just a glance like they’re wondering whether or not I heard the spit blast. Sometimes it’s a full turn of the head with a moment of expectant eye-contact, to which I respond, “What?” This usually dissuades any further expectation of the above-mentioned pleasantry. People will even go as far as to ask, “Are you going to say ‘God bless you?’” A question that sends the smart-ass comment formulator in my brain into overdrive. I’ll say, “Yeah, I was just taking a really long pause for dramatic effect,” or, “I’m just waiting for your sound waves to get to heaven so he knows what I’m talking about,” or some other appropriate zinger. Rarely someone will actually demand it like, “Where’s my ‘God bless you?’” “…MY ‘God bless you?’” You send millions of particles of spit and snot into my breathing space and I’m supposed to petition our Almighty Creator on your behalf? How about no? How about I’d like to say something but my mouth is too busy shielding my throat from your biological attack? Do you read the news? Are you aware of all the atrocities happening around the clock in this world? Don’t you think God’s a little busy right now to be bothered with the histamine problems of one of the residents of the richest country on earth?!? I think you’ll be OK. Shut your mouth, turn up the MTV, and have another burger, America. It’ll be a long time before I say “God bless you” after a sneeze, so don’t hold your breath (unless it stops your face from erupting in a cloud of germs and viruses).