I'm not a big fan of what I would call "automatic responses."

In most cases, people either say "bless you" or "Gesundheit" (German for "good health") when someone sneezes. I'm not a big fan of either. It's kind of like when someone says, "have a blessed/nice day." They aren't really wishing you well or putting any thought into it, it's just a way to let you know your interaction is over.

Let's back up and examine "bless you" just a little bit.

People started saying "bless you" because they either thought your soul slipped out of your body when you sneezed, or that your sneeze was the first sign you were going to die soon. (It's true.)

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I expressed this minor annoyance to my wife once and in her search for words (while frustrated with such a dumb topic), she said, "what do you expect me to say, 'duck and a noodle'?" So that was it, for years when someone in our house sneezed we would say, "duck and a noodle." It was nonsense but when you use a phrase like that it shows that you put a little thought into actually acknowledging the sneeze.

Since the days of "duck and a noodle" we have transitioned to "Ya Ya Ding Dong" from the movie Eurovision. For some reason, this phrase is catching on with some friends. I've also heard people saying "You're good-looking!"

None of this has to be about not saying "bless you" though, it's actually about making the reaction a little more personal with the side benefit of making "bless you" sound like a heartfelt response when it's used only in special situations. So here's hoping you don't sneeze at all, and if you do, then, "Ya Ya Ding Dong!"

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