I've got it all figured out.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ask the Magic Internet a Stupid Question No. 0017

I don’t like this whole thing where you have to say something after someone sneezes. I don’t like saying, bless you because I’m not religious and even if I was religious I don’t think I’d feel the need to bless someone just because they sneezed. I don’t think a regular person can even bless someone. Don’t you need to be a priest or at least have one of those ashtrays on a chain?

The priest tells you that the incense symbolizes your prayers going to heaven but in truth… you all stink.

My point is that now days if you sneeze, it doesn’t mean you’re going to die. This is not the dark ages and we are not all living in fear of the plague.

If this guy sneezes, bless him. Oh and that long nose thing, it’s full of incense… because you all stink.

Then there’s the other word. The word you’re supposed to use if you don’t like saying, bless you. Gazuntite. What does Gazuntite even mean? What if it’s Ojibwe for boner breath and that’s the Indians way of getting back at us for giving them small pox infected blankets? We better get to the bottom of this right away.

Question: 17: What does gazuntite mean?

This is where you would normally read the sound effects of the Magic Internet preparing to answer my question. I have grown tired of typing these dumb sound effects so I am herby discontinuing them. My apologies to anyone who is upset over this decision but if reading those dumb sound effects every week was the only thing that enriched your life then you’re better off dead. Now please enjoy this video of Morgan Freeman sneezing in a 1970s episode of the Electric Company.

Magic Internet Answer: My, my Johnny. You are so dumb that sometimes I wonder how you manage to remember to breathe let alone sneeze. Gazuntite is not an Ojibwe word. (Although boozhoo is, it means greetings.) Gazuntite is actually spelled Gesundheit and it is a German word that means health. When you say gesundheit to a person after they sneeze you are wishing them good health. This phrase was introduced to North America by early German settlers such as the Pennsylvania Dutch. It was widely attested to the English language by 1910 about the same time that large numbers of Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews immigrated to the United States. Gesundheit is not exactly a blessing but it is used much in the same way. Also, blessing people after they sneeze is not always about superstitiously warding off sickness. Some people believe that the soul can escape through a sneeze and a blessing keeps it inside. Others believe that sneezing is a way of purging the body of evil spirits and a blessing will help to keep them away. During the renaissance period many believed that your heart stopped briefly when you sneezed and a blessing would insure that it restarted.

German, huh? Who’da thunk it? That’s good to know but I still won’t be saying gesundheit or bless you after someone sneezes but I will pray that this never happens to me.

Check Ya later.

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