Bless you, Peppers

If my family, job, (the majority of) my friends, Havana Rumba and the Kentucky Derby weren’t here, you’d totally find me living at the beach. Or as close to it as physically possible. On account of I can breathe there.

Growing up in the Ohio Valley, AKA Breeding Ground For All The Allergens In The World, I don’t so much notice the difference in seasons because of the weather. I notice it because of which part of my body is hurting.

Case in point: right now, it’s changing from summer to fall. In my body, congestion is also changing. Locations. Instead of waking up with sinus headaches, I now wake up coughing and sneezing.

Add that to what I’m pretty sure is a hotbed of disease in my workplace (seriously there’s not a day someone’s not coughing or sneezing or needing to be restrained while someone else puts eye drops in their bloodshot eyes) and I’m a mess just about every two months or so.

All this is to say that when someone sneezes, whether I know the person or not, I always say “Bless you.” Always have, always will. But not everyone’s like that.

It’s always been like that in my family – in fact the other night, just sitting at my parents’ house, my dad sneezed and Rach said “Bless you.” It’s a reflex.

For us, it’s a reflex. For other people, they can’t be bothered. I’ve sneezed like, 30 times at work or in other places but especially at work and people rarely tell me “Bless you.” Missed opportunity, people. What if something had happened?

Dane Cook has the best joke about the whole “Bless you” thing, ever. I don’t even care if you don’t like Dane Cook.

Of course, I don’t say “Bless you” every single time, but I try to. And if I don’t say that, I say “Gesundheit.” Or, another personal favorite of our family – Gutangen.

Oh, you’ve never heard that word? It’s ’cause Baby Einstein made it up. In her sleep. SHE’S A GENIUS LIKE THAT. HENCE THE EINSTEIN PART.

Yeah several years ago when my mom went in her room to check on the little sleeping sweet Baby Einstein, the girl rolled over and said “Gutangen.”

What does it mean? Does she dream in German?

From then on, Gutangen has been substituted for everything from curse words – “Can’t find that gutangen tape” – to what you say when you hear a sneeze. It’s versatile like that. It could be anything you want.

So, you know, say bless you when people sneeze. It’s polite. Or have fun with it and say gutangen. Then they’ll think you’re crazy, which is significantly more fun.

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