As I sit here sniffling with my second bout of COVID, I was thinking about what a strange tradition saying "bless you" is after sneezing. Since I've been sneezing a lot, I've been inundated with "bless you"s. As an agnostic, it rings hollow to me.

Also: Why? Why are we being blessed, just for shooting a disgusting germ vapor into the air? People should be angry about that. "F*@% you!" would be more appropriate. And on what grounds does the average person have for being able to bless? There's not an abundance of holy people walking around. I'm not friends with any deacons or bishops. All my friends do extremely un-holy, downright dastardly things. Some even wear sandals with socks.

So why do we bother saying "bless you" at all?


According to historians, during the days of the black plague, people believed that a sneeze was a precursor to the deadly disease, so "God bless you" was meant to be a Christian blessing against it.

It also may just be ingrained in us psychologically because we like hearing the "thank you" that often comes after. It's positive reinforcement.

Photo by Brittany Colette on Unsplash
Photo by Brittany Colette on Unsplash


Here's my pitch: If New York does one thing particularly well, it's tax the ever-living piss out of its residents. So instead of saying "Bless you!", why not say "Tax you!"


"Tax you!" rolls off the tongue JUST as easily as "Bless you," if not more so. And then, when you sneeze and someone says "Tax you!", you should have to pay that person a nickel.

Will Phillips
Will Phillips

Think about how much money you'd rack up, especially if you're around one of those people who sneezes multiple times in a row. If you get a person who rifles off 10 of those babies (God, how annoying), you'd be walking with a half-dollar!

Anyway, that's just my two cents. Or five cents. God tax you!

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