Upon a recent promotion, I received several greeting cards with well-wishes from co-workers. My boss gave me a business congratulations card and on the inside wrote “Congrats…or should I say God bless you?” I guess you are wondering what sort of inside joke this could possibly be, right? Let me backtrack.
It all started with a sneeze. It’s pretty much a given that if someone sneezes, they will get a “God bless you” in response. Inquisitive beings that we are, a few of us wondered how God’s blessings became the response of choice to a loud, germy sneeze. Of course to find out…we “Googled” it.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember what I did before Google. Have a question about something? Google it. Need to look up a factoid or rumor? Google it. None of the other search engines made it into a verb in our daily conversations. I only wish it had been around when I was a kid. It would’ve been so much easier to Google something than ask Mom to drive me to the library so I could look it up in an encyclopedia.
In any case, Google made good on its informational uses. It turns out that back in plague times, the Pope made it a law that you should bless someone in case the sneeze was a precursor to an untimely, plague-related death. Prior to those times, if someone sneezed, they were congratulated for getting rid of an evil sprit!
Some of us have started to congratulate our colleagues when sneezing. Sure, we get odd stares at first, but when we explain the origin, the stares stop (well, usually). Our Congratulations Movement has yet to pick up steam, but I am determined to make it catch on, even if it means bribing with days off! (Ok, maybe not. Bribery is not the best way to go about things, folks.)
If you have particularly sneezy friends or co-workers, and are tired of blessing them every time they let out a big one, think about handing them congratulations cards. Include a tissue, and maybe an explanation of why you’re congratulating them. That should save you from having to react to the sneezes at all for a very long time!