Aaa…tishooo!April 7, 2010
A man sneezed on the DLR today. It’s very sad that something as mundane as a man sneezing should catch my attention and become a subject for this blog, but it set me thinking about the nature of the sneeze and the different styles. I think sneezes fall into two basic categories: the hold it in or internal sneeze which results in a strangely cute muffling sound, though you worry their head will explode as they’re suppressing such a powerful spasm and the let it all hang out or external sneeze where the ferocity of the sound could give the sirens from emergency services a run for their money. The sneezing man on the DLR was the first type, holding his nose and keeping his mouth closed as he tried to be quiet in polite company. I imagined his head expanding and eyes popping out as the force that should’ve been expelled was internalised.
I’m the second type, though I’m not a very loud sneezer. I pass that honour to a relative of mine, who, if they had stood behind me as I prepared for a high jump at the Olympics and just let rip, the shock would’ve sent me skywards towards gold without the need of a pole to guide me.
On typing the word ‘sneezing’ in Google, I discovered such delights as a forum for sneezing fetishists (yes, really) and reverse sneezing, which I’d never heard of until I saw a couple of clips on YouTube. It only affects dogs and isn’t dangerous, but it’s uncomfortable to watch. It looks and sounds like they’re struggling to breathe, giving you the increasing sense of dread that they would collapse at any moment. Kitten sneezing on the other hand, is a variation on the cute kitten phenomenon, which is like a John Coltrane Jazz standard in the Internet world. There’s sneezing caused by pollen, or other allergens, which makes a miserable summer for some. Others can’t be in a house with pets as the hairs are the irritants that trigger off sneezing and possibly more. Then there’s Photic Sneeze Reflex caused by a sudden exposure to bright light. The speed of your sneeze can be as fast as 75kph or 47mph, sending all kinds of goodies in the air that we can all enjoy. Not using a handkerchief, or your hand enables the spread of diseases. I covered that particular bugbear of mine when I wrote about swine flu last year, so I won’t go into detail here. Sneezes can be pleasurable. The tickling build up of that irritant in your nose, taking almost every part of your body to the brink is fantastic. Once you’ve sneezed and let everything go, you’re left feeling calm, happy and knowing that all is now right with the world.
There’s probably lots more stuff about sneezing I haven’t covered here, but if you have any facts to impart, want to let the world know whether you are an internal or external sneezer, or when you last had a good sneeze, then do it here.