Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Gesundheit Already!

Sneezing is an odd phenomenon.

And it seems that each person's sneeze can acquire a "personality" all its own. Some people sneeze with a huge startling blast that can scare the hell out of you. Other people absolutely must sneeze the same number of times every time. I know one woman who has a delayed reaction, and doesn't say the "achoo" part until a good full second after she's sneezed.

A lot of people sneeze when they look at the sun. I do and so does my mom, that's not unusual. I even take it one step further and sneeze at bright lights, such as when a car's high beams shine in my eyes.

But I think I win the award for having the most unique "problem" associated with a sneeze.

What I'm referring to - is a very special "gift" I've been blessed with whereas about once every two weeks or so, I start sneezing and I just can't stop.

Now, I'm not talking about your average, "darn, I just sneezed 5 times instead of my usual 3" type of variation. That would be a piece of cake. What I'm talking about is, "sonofabitch, I just sneezed 30 times instead of my usual 3!"

For real, 30 times in a row - about once every 20 seconds for 10 minutes or so.

You see, normally I'm one of those people who always sneezes three times. No more, no less - always three. And this is fairly common according to the research I've done on this topic, which you can rest assured I've researched (and to some very strange search results by the way). However for some unknown reason, and usually at the most inopportune time, I will sneeze a 4th time - and that's when I know I'm doomed. Because once I've hit 4, I might as well drop what I'm doing for the next 10 minutes, because I can promise you one thing... it ain't gonna stop!

Some examples of when my sneeze-gate decides to open up are when:

  • I'm driving. This can be a problem. I've even had to pull over a few times so I don't kill someone. In fact did you know that it's impossible to keep your eyes open when you sneeze? Exactly, now you can see why this is a problem.

  • I'm in a very quiet and public place, such as church, the library or at a movie. Fortunately I know on sneeze #4 that I'm going to be a disruption for awhile, so I quickly and quietly excuse myself to a more private location.
  • I'm in a public place where I can't excuse myself. Such as when I'm the 3rd person in a very long line at the grocery store. In this case I just have deal with it - and the associated reactions of the other people around me. These can range from anything from snickering to "space widening." This is when everyone around me decides to increase the gap between me and them because they are pretty sure I am spreading the bird flu around.
So why am I so fortunate? I have a theory.

I believe that a long time ago in Norway, one of my ancestors acquired this same affliction as a result of inhaling large amounts of lye through years of preparing the annual lutefisk harvest. This unique characteristic was then passed down through the generations until it was eventually inherited by me.

Ok, so maybe it's not the perfect answer - but if you have a better one I'll be happy to hear it!!!

1 comment:

Martin said...

I posted a link to Photic sneezing resources when you mentioned the phenomenon in January
http://www.photic-sneezing.fr.st/, but hadn't read the old entry from 2005 where you ask for an explanation for why the sneeze reflex can't seem to stop.

I haven't got an answer, but I have noticed that it happens to me more often than I thought. I was blinded by the sun yesterday driving home and had to stop the car for all the sneezes! So it is not so uncommon as you think.