Tag Archives: sneezes

Lame Adventure 122: Sneezing Matters

Recently while speaking via Skype to my across-the-pond colleague, Elaine, she asked me:

Elaine:  Anything new with you?

Me:  I sneezed 51 times last week.  Thus far, that’s 270 sneezes since my birthday, but those 51 sneezes account for more than 19 percent of my sneezing total this year.

Elaine’s expression was a cross between stupefied and irritated.

Elaine:  Don’t you have anything better to do with your time than count your bloody sneezes?  Maybe I should start counting my farts?

She shifted her weight and for all I know emitted such a powerful silent-but-deadly at that moment she could have felled the entire New York Giants defensive line.

I suppose Elaine raised a valid question about why I have been counting my sneezes for six months now.  When I commenced counting my sneezes on May 4, the day I turned the 14th discrete biprime and the 5th in the {3.q} semiprime family having the prime factors (3.17), I vowed I would do so for the entirety of a year.  I intend to continue this mission unless an unforeseen situation, such as finding myself felled by a piece of space junk, or possibly one of Elaine’s high octane farts, leaves me so impaired I lose the capacity to maintain this count for another six months.

Since I am still able to breathe freely, from May 4 through November 3, I have sneezed a total of 278 times.  Over the course of those 184 days, I have emitted an average of 1.5108695 sneezes per day.  What constitutes half a sneeze I am at a loss to define, but there have been several times where I’ve felt a sneeze coming, but it chooses to remain stuck in my sinuses, which is a most disagreeable feeling on par with an ear drum that will not pop or hearing any song sung by Celine Dion.

Oh! You and your stupeed sneezes!

Below are some highlights of my 278 sneezes.

The nose that has launched 278 sneezes.

The week starting Monday, October 25, through Sunday, October 31, was my high water (or, more accurately, my high mucous) mark.  I did not have a cold but I sneezed incessantly that week, the aforementioned 51 times, accounting for 18.346% of the total.  The first week in May that I began this count I sneezed 24 times.  In August, there was an astonishing* period of nine sneezeless days between 8:52 pm on Sunday, August 15, while writing an email to my sister, Dovima, until 1:32 pm on Tuesday, August 24, following a gynecological exam.  Following is not the same as during the exam proper, nor have I sneezed during other recreation of a horizontal nature, but I did sneeze in bed (alone) at 1:03 am on Monday May 17.

I have had numerous occasions where I’ve sneezed at my place of employ, the Tile Dust Bowl of America.

I’ve sneezed on planes, on the subway (the 1 local is a favorite sneezing place and fellow passengers often say, “Bless you” to me), and in my sister’s car while driving in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I’ve sneezed while urinating on Friday, July 16 at 8:05 pm.

I’ve sneezed ten minutes into the August 8 episode of Mad Men (third episode of Season 4 called The Good News).

I’ve sneezed while watching plays – Gabriel (Atlantic Theater Company), The Little Foxes (New York Theater Workshop), Angels in America Part 1 (Signature Theater Company), Orlando (Classic Stage Company), and while waiting for Gatz (the Public Theater) to start.

I sneezed thunderously in a lobby that could have doubled as an echo chamber while waiting with Milton before the doors opened at the 3LD Art and Technology Center.  We had tickets to Lawrence Wright’s one-man show about the ongoing crisis in Gaza, The Human Scale.  My sneeze earned us the stink eye from the elderly couple ahead of us even though it was not a sprayer.  Milton vividly discussing how his company’s resident thug knows where he stores the pizza cutter, which Milton is sure the thug will use to slice their boss, also rated us additional disapproving glances from the female half of that equation.  I noticed during the performance that she slept soundly through most of it.

I’ve sneezed while watching films – Toy Story 3, Nowhere Boy, but my entire experience at this year’s New York Film Festival was sneeze-free.

I’ve sneezed while having my blood pressure checked at my gastroenterologist’s office.  My blood pressure was 109 over 72.

I’ve sneezed while writing this post, but that sneeze will count in my tally of sneezes for the next six months.

*Astonishing for an otherwise avid sneezer.

Lame Adventure 56: Sneezing Numbers for May

Last month I had my birthday.  It was an ordinary one, not the crisis kind that reminds me that, thus far, I’ve essentially misspent my entire life from cradle to (as I inch closer) ash.  Besides, I can think that thought any day of the week, especially when I ponder how overseeing tile labeling is my current <cough> get rich slow career.

On my birthday proper, May 4th, when my UK-bound colleague, Elaine, set foot in the office at 8:54 am, I sneezed twice with hurricane force and had a light bulb.  I thought, “I wonder how many times I’m going to sneeze this entire year until my next birthday?” I also happened to have a small spiral bound memo book in my satchel, a perfect notebook to start jotting daily sneezing notes.  I call it My Book of Sneeze.

My Book of Sneeze

I also considered writing a second blog, one entirely devoted to nothing but my sneezing.  Before setting that one up, I ran this idea by Milton who opined in a voice that sounded very similar to someone who had just been force fed a tennis ball courtesy of Serena Williams following a bad call.  My close confidant gagged, “Please don’t. You don’t want to know the kind of person that would follow something like that.”  Next, I suggested just summing up my entire month of sneezing in a single post here and that met his seal of approval, followed with this reflection, “I can’t believe you’re really going to count all your sneezes for an entire year.  That’s fuckin’ crazy.”  One man’s crazy is one woman’s blog post.

My sneezing highlights and statistics for the month of May from the 4th through the 31st are as follows:

May 4th – birthday: 7 sneezes; two scoring solid 5’s on the sneeze-o-meter with 1 being a suppressed sneeze that explodes inside one’s head and 5 being delivered with such velocity that children and pets (including fish) hide.

Monday May 17th – high count sneeze day: 8 (2 at work; 6 at home).

Home: 44 sneezes

Work: 25 sneezes

Other (walking on street, while visiting friends, in a store, etc.): 14 sneezes

Subway: 4 sneezes

Volunteer Ushering (Gabriel at Atlantic Theater Company): 1 sneeze

No sneeze days: 4

Overall, I sneezed a total of 88 times during those 28 days in May for an average of 3.1428571 sneezes per day.  Onto June!

I suspect that the power of suggestion from this woman's daisy decorated headpiece, whether artificial or real, is what prompted me to sneeze twice while observing her sit opposite Marina Abramovic at MOMA on Monday, May 31st.