Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Gesundheit - NOT!!

The lady I work for is a long time friend - well, 8 years I've known her thru our church congregation. When I started last fall, she kind of clued me in on the other employees.

One is a lady who is a Jehovah's Witness. D told me not to ever say "Bless You" when she sneezes. It apparently happened in the past, and she said "You don't have the authority to "bless" me, so please don't do that." Sad part is, this woman has asthma and allergies, and she happens to sneeze quite regularly!

Anyone wonder how hard it is to NOT say "bless you" or Gesundheit when someone sneezes?

Anyone else had someone ask you not to say it?

Is this lady one of a kind?

I like her and all, she's nice and is not rude about it, especially when I say Bless.... and then catch myself.


MM said...

She may not be "one of a kind" but her reaction seems a little more insistant than normal. I've had much experience in this and my findings are that most just say "thank you", unless they are close enough (like in a work environment) to tell you why *they* don't say it. As is true in every religious organization, there are always overly zealous/fanatical folks who overeact to stuff.

I'd say you have the right to say it whenever you want, and it's up to her to deal with it. Or you can respect her wishes (as it seems you've done) since it doesn't really make a difference to you.

Puffy said...

Tell her to go wash her hands.

Bravie said...

I worked with a girl who was a JW. It was the same thing. Those weren't her words but she did nicely ask not to be blessed. She also did not want her birthday recognized nor did she participate in any sort of work celebrations that we had. *shrug* I felt bad for her at first because I felt like she was missing out. But then I decided that she knew what she was missing out on and was okay with it so I stopped feeling bad for her and just respected her wishes. So then when she sneezed, instead of saying "bless you", I would just say "ohhh, that one sprayed a lot". *grin*

kim (weltek) said...

Ugh. I've been trying not to say it, as I know it isn't always appropriate and it's really a silly tradition.

It makes me shake my head to think people really take it seriously.

Cygnus said...

How about "God bless me"?

Mom2BJM said...

You guys crack me up - Bravie - I could also say that one musta hurt alot!

She's actually pretty good - I try not to mess up- and as Kim said -silly tradition, and it's kind of just a habit!!

Cyg, is it "God bless me" that I don't get sick ? Hee hee!

MM, I'm sure she's heard me slip and say it, but she doesn't ever say anything. Our work room gets kind of loud with the OPEX machines (opening mail) so it's hard to hear sometimes!

Puffy, she does wash her hands often, thankfully, but sometimes she gets cloves out, or some other wierd stuff that smells, and THAT can get kind of off-putting!

Swami said...

I never say Bless You and I pretty much ignore it when people say that to me. Well, maybe not really because I may say Thank You if they seem to be waiting for that. But I don't feel blessed and I just don't care. I will say Gesundheit even thoughI don't really know what it means.

We used to have a German doc in my lab who laughed hysterically every time he overheard one American say Gesundheit to another American.

I don't know any JWs.

kim (weltek) said...

My minister FIL says Gesundheit. Makes me giggle.

Puffy said...

Gesundheit is the German and Yiddish word for health. When a person sneezes, German and Yiddish speakers typically say Gesundheit! to wish them good health, serving much the same purpose as "bless you" in English, except without the religious overtones. The expression arrived with early German immigrants, such as the Pennsylvania Dutch, and doubtless passed into local English usage in areas with substantial German-speaking populations. The expression is first widely attested in American English as of 1910, about the time when large numbers of Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews immigrated to the United States.

I misread Swami's comment. I thought she said a German DOG laughed hysterically.

Mom2BJM said...

Thank you Puffy for the background information!

I probably won't ever see her again, since her last day is passed..