came into this world with my share of advantages, and one of those certainly wasn’t pollen resistance.

This time of year – when you can wash your car off in the evening and find it coated in the Devil’s yellow dust by morning – is especially bad. So I sneeze.

A lot.

You might think a hundred sneezes a day sounds like “a lot,” but those are rookie numbers. I can crank out more than that in just one hour once spring starts springing. My nose doesn’t care if I’m in a quiet library, covering commissioners court or attending a funeral. My allergy problems will have their due. Thank God I don’t have to cover golf tournaments for a living.

As a consequence, I’ve heard “bless you” more times than I can count. I’d be a very rich man today if I had a shiny Buffalo nickel for every time someone blessed me post sneeze.

Most folks I’ve found have what I call the two-bless limit: “I’ll bless ya once. And bless your heart, I’ll bless ya on the second sneeze, too. But that’s my limit!”

Some people are bountiful fountains of blessings, though. If it’s the first or the hundredth time today, you’re still getting a response each time your nose hole violates the peace. And understand, I’ve got an M-134 minigun for a nasal cavity. I can machine-gun spit out sneeze after sneeze until the proverbial Karnes County cows come home. 

I also came into this world a little introverted. Contrary to the opinions of some, introverts aren’t defined by being socially inept or withdrawn. The biggest thing that sets us apart is we feel emotionally drained by social interaction, while extroverts feel drained from a lack thereof.

Every time you sneeze in a crowded room, you’re calling attention to yourself. Sneeze enough, and the conversation turns from whatever it was toward your sneezing.

“Whoah, got any more in there or are you done? Allergy problems? Easy there, champ! You’re not sick, are you? I don’t want to get sick. Have you tried (insert allergy remedy here)? I used to have a cousin that ...” and on it goes.

It’s sort of a miniature living nightmare for someone who doesn’t want to attract attention to themselves at random, sometimes inappropriate moments. But what’s a guy to do? Part of me wants to lead a social revolution where we put a stop to the serial blessing practice for good. One blessing should be enough to cover all sneezes, past and future ... right? Maybe when a baby is born we can all gather around and say “bless you,” and that’ll cover things in perpetuity?

I’ve been accused of having too-big dreams before. Maybe this is one of them. But, hey, a guy with terrible allergies who likes to blend in and not be noticed all the time can have his fantasies, right?