I don’t just sneeze, I blast.
My sneezes fall somewhere on the Richter scale between a concussion grenade and a sonic boom. They are so loud and the blast area so wide that people as far away as Greenland have emailed me Gesundheits.
And they always come in threes:
There, that feels better.
I don’t know why I explode like that, so I asked my doctor.
“I dunno,” he said.
“Don’t you suppose we should find out?”
“Why?” he asked.
“So I don’t do it anymore,” I suggested.
“Greg,” he said, “with all your issues, sneezing is not even on the list.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because,” he said, reaching into his shirt pocket to retrieve a slip of paper. “Your wife gave me the list. Let’s start there.”
What do doctors know anyway?
So I put it to the real experts, the Thursday night patrons of The Pit. It is our local bar and the font from which all knowledge flows. The regulars may not be the smartest people on earth, nor the best informed, but collectively they possess a wisdom that is, if not truly wise, at least difficult to argue with.
“You got a dog?” someone asked.
“Yes,” I told them, “his name is Scooter.”
“What kind of dog?”
“Whatever come over the fence,” I said.
“Oh, a mutt.”
That made a difference. No one at the bar thought it possible to be allergic to a mutt. It was their considered opinion that the breeding done to please people rather than dogs is what causes health problems in both humans and canines.
“Inside or out?”
When I explained that we have eight barn cats and two house cats, a fierce debate erupted. Not about allergies, mind you, but about the wisdom or lack thereof of allowing a cat inside a house.
After a half-hour and several invitations to take the dispute into the parking lot, it was concluded that if a person was allergic to cats, such a high number of either barn or house cats would probably kill them, so felines were not the issue… at least as far as allergies were concerned.
“How about ragweed?” one old-timer asked.
“He lives next to the Minnesota Mosquito Refuge,” someone said, “it’s nothing but ragweed and wild cucumber.”
So again, still being among the living scratched the possibility of a ragweed allergy.
“It could be trees,” another sage suggested, “cottonwood, elm, maple, oak, box elder, walnut and willow will all make you sneeze.”
“That is about every tree there is;” I said. “How can I avoid trees?”
“Move to the Arctic,” came the answer.
This caused another divergence of opinion. A good half of the crowd enthusiastically embraced the idea of me moving to the Arctic. The other half, the half who did not owe me money, thought it best to preserve the possibility of one day owing me money and therefore thought it best I remain in Almost Iowa.
“So what do I do?” I asked.
This prompted a long discussion of just what ‘this was good for that’. Everyone had their remedies. Everyone had their sure-fire cures. Things got quite heated and emotional until Stan walked through the door and sneezed…
“What the…? Why are YOU sneezing?”
Stan could hardly speak as another set of sneezes welled up in his nose.
“It’s…it’s…it’s–KAZOOO!!–his road,” Stan said.
Once he composed himself, he explained. Contrary to what the township fathers insist, Five Drunk Creek Trail is not a ‘gravel’ road, since not a single pebble can be found on it, rather it is a dirt road or more accurately, a dust road.
And the dust–KAZOOO!!–makes people sneeze.
“But how come you guys sneeze when you get here?” someone asked.
Stan took off his ball cap and slapped the bill against his leg, sending a plume of fine dust wafting across the bar.
I need not describe what followed.