Recently I’ve been experimenting with a new sneeze. I’ve never liked the traditional “Aaaaa-chooo” type of sneeze — it always felt like it went on too long, called too much attention to the sneezer, and was very wet. Most of all, I didn’t like the extended loss of control feel of that kind of sneeze. (Plus, I met this woman a while ago who, when she sneezed, she screamed. Not a cute little scream, but a long, loud, piercing scream that made everyone look at her in alarm. And she had the nerve to act like it was a normal sneeze, no big deal, like, “What the hell are you looking at?”)

So over the last year or so, I’ve been working on a new sneeze. It’s much more controlled and efficient, and doesn’t call as much attention to itself. Basically, I’ve trained myself to hold the “Aaaaa…” part inside (maybe with a slight unfocusing of the eyes), and then let loose with a short, sharp “choo.” It’s quick, and seems cleaner (less wet) than the traditional sneeze. I’m quite pleased with it.

The only problem with this new sneeze is that most people don’t recognize it as such — no one ever says “Bless you” when I let one loose. Not even Sari. So the other day I asked her about it, and she confessed she didn’t know what it was that had happened to me. Like she thought it was a cough or something. So I explained that it was indeed a new sneeze I had invented. Instead of congratulating me, however, she refuses to endorse my new creation. She still won’t give me the common courtesy of a simple “gesundheit”. She just thinks it’s “weird”.

Why is it “weird” to buck convention? Where is it written that we all have to go “Aaaa-chooo”?

Oh well, all of our great ideas were scoffed at at first. But eventually the rest of the world catches up. I can be patient. Because my new invention is nothing to sneeze at.