My sneeze is no gen­tle breeze, even the third one

Record Observer - - Religion -

It has been days (or has it been years) since I have en­joyed a sneeze free day. The Gra­cious Mis­tress of the Par­son­age told me it is sim­ply that time of the year and I should learn to deal with it. “Af­ter all,” she opined, “you’re not go­ing to die.”

That news was not quite en­cour­ag­ing, be­cause it was the hope of dy­ing keep­ing me alive so far. If my brain was func­tion­ing any­where half-de­cent, (and I can’t re­mem­ber a time it has) I prob­a­bly could re­mem­ber when I felt worse. How­ever, it does not mat­ter how I have felt in the past it is how I’m feel­ing right now that re­ally mat­ters.

I have gone through a mil­lion boxes of tis­sues this past week.

I would not mind an oc­ca­sional sneeze ev­ery now and then. For ex­am­ple I could live with a sim­ple “aah-choo,” and be done with it. But, oh no, my nose has dif­fer­ent ideas about the whole thing.

It is what I call the un­holy Trin­ity. It goes some­thing like this. Aaaaah Choooooooooooo. Aaaaaah Choooooooooooooo. Aaaaaaaah Choooooooooooooooo.

Each sneeze tries to outdo the pre­vi­ous one. I can never sneeze one time, it al­ways has to be in mul­ti­ples of three.

Of course, some­times my nose tries to out­smart me. For ex­am­ple, when a sneeze comes I gear up for three in a row. Then my nose will sneeze two times and I am ready for the third one and it does not come. It will do this sev­eral times in a row, then it will sneeze twice, there is a small pause, and I think it is over and the third thun­ders forth.

Notwith­stand­ing, this has made cer­tain in­con­ve­niences in the life I once en­joyed. For ex­am­ple, in the mid­dle of the night when na­ture calls I try to be as care­ful in get­ting out of bed and go­ing as I pos­si­bly can. I never open my eyes so as not to be­come fully awak­ened in the mid­dle of the night. Once awake I find it dif­fi­cult to go back to sleep.

Just the other night I was re­spond­ing to na­ture’s call as I nor­mally do and was just about ready to get back into bed when my nose re­al­ized what was hap­pen­ing and called forth three mighty sneezes.

Not only did it bring me to full awake sta­tus, but also the lady sleep­ing in my bed was aroused to full alert­ness, and yelled, “What hap­pened?”

I live by one ba­sic rule. Never wake up grouchy.

I’ve learned one thing about what not to do when you have this con­di­tion. That is sim­ply never brush your teeth dur­ing this con­di­tion. My mir­ror in my bath­room will be shiny bright and never have a cav­ity, guar­an­teed.

I have no­ticed when you are sick and peo­ple find out about it they feel ob­li­gated to share with you their med­i­cal ex­per­tise on the sit­u­a­tion at hand.

One per­son said to me, “What you need is plenty of vi­ta­min C. I rec­om­mend you drink as much orange juice as you pos­si­bly can. That’ll take care of it for sure.”

I don’t know who is worse. The one giv­ing ad­vice or the one tak­ing it.

Be­ing in such des­per­ate straits, I de­cided to take the orange juice reg­i­men. For one whole day, I drank as much OJ as I pos­si­bly could get down. For a while, it seemed to work, but then the in­evitable raised its ugly head. Ev­ery­body knows when you drink as much OJ as I have been drink­ing there comes the ne­ces­sity to go to the bath­room.

I got to the bath­room, just in time, and in mid­stream, I had a fe­ro­cious at­tack of the sneezes. When the storm sub­sided, the bath­room looked like the af­ter­math of Hur­ri­cane Charley. I tried ex­plain­ing this to my wife but she only crossed her arms, looked at me and raised her eye­brows in a way I knew she did not buy what I was say­ing.

While I was still in this snif­fling-sneezy-stuffy con­di­tion, I ran into a friend of mine. It is hard to hide your con­di­tion when all you are do­ing is sneez­ing and snif­fling. He un­der­stood, of course, and then of­fered me his ex­pert med­i­cal ad­vice.

“I have found the per­fect cure for your con­di­tion.”

You would think by this time I would have learned my les­son, but I was feel­ing so down I was grasp­ing at straws.

“When I get what you have I al­ways take a lax­a­tive reg­i­men.”

Had I been in my right mind and had my mind been clear I would have con­sid­ered this as stupid ad­vice. How­ever, be­ing in the con­di­tion I was in it some­how it sounded plau­si­ble.

“This lax­a­tive reg­i­men,” he ex­plained, “flushes all the poi­son con­tribut­ing to your con­di­tion out of your sys­tem.”

Ei­ther, my friend had never tried the rem­edy him­self or, he had for­got to warn me about a very se­ri­ous side ef­fect. One sneeze can trig­ger a flush. Don’t ask me how I know.

In the midst of all of this non­sense, my bleary, teary eyes rested on an old fa­mil­iar friend. It is found in Psalms 103:1 (KJV), “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”

I dis­cov­ered one good thing about sneez­ing in public. Peo­ple are al­ways kind enough to say, “God bless you.”

Ah, it’s a won­der­ful world … Aaaah Chooo! “God bless you.” Thank you. Dr. James L. Sny­der is pas­tor of the Fam­ily of God Fel­low­ship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Sil­ver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or email jamess­ny­ The church web­site is www. whatafel­low­

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