So I was recently in a thrift store, looking through some of the stuff there, when another aisle over, somebody sneezed.
(As far as I know, nobody lost a meatball.... 😅🙃 ...)
Anyway, somebody sneezed.
And somebody immediately said, “Bless you!”
And just as quickly, a loud, strident voice: “NO!! NO, NO, NO! WE DON’T SAY THAT!!”
(Millions of thoughts flashing in my head, at nano-second speed:
- omg, a Witness! That person’s got to be a JW! Who else freaks out about saying “bless you” after a sneeze?!? And who is she talking to, anyway? - somebody with her, or to a stranger at the store? (!!!) omg, I’ve got to confront her! I’ve got to see what she has to say about hollering that sort of comment out publicly!!! And, really, isn’t it so nice, and sweet of someone to say “bless you”! It sounds so friendly and compassionate! Stupid Witnesses, with their demonic superstitious fears (the JWs taught that this expression came from a medieval time when people believed that demons jumped into your mouth when you sneezed, which is why another person quickly “blessed them”, but in modern day times, it just sounds, well, polite! Friendly. 😄 Soothing, even. A little moment of kindness from a stranger.)
So anyway, I quickly pop round the corner and ask, all innocent and incredulous, “Why is that?”
- and there is a huge, gigantic, unkempt woman standing in front of me (I do not judge her appearance, as this was also me some days, haha, or the way I used to be, before losing much of the weight... weight gained after I went on anti-depressants while being “one of the happiest people on earth” - a Jehovah’s Witness - but I digress again. And I still go out and about in strange disarray, but I don’t care, lol. What I do object to, regarding her appearance, is the way she is supposed to look while representing her most holy god and supreme ruler and deity of the universe, Jeho-blah....)
She blinks at me. I am sure to look her over very carefully up and down. Mean of me! I know! But I knew this would rattle her, because of the way she knows she’s supposed to look while ‘witnessing’ or ‘giving a defense’, etc., so I knew I had her at a great disadvantage.
I can see the wheels turning, the gears chugging along in her head as she tries to figure out how to answer me. Does she admit to being a JW while I’ve caught her out and about in her state of disarray?
And how does one answer a stranger about this weird JW bless-you thing... about demons jumping into mouths and such and bless-you becomes such a bad thing to say?
Just how is she supposed to answer me after her stupid booming outburst of JW-ish-ness...? She gets nervous and rattled. She looks around uncomfortably. Pretends to not know what I’m talking about. “Why.. is what?”
Perhaps hoping I’ll politely go away. But of course I don’t! Hee hee!
“I’m wondering why you didn’t want that person to say ‘bless you’.”
(I also noticed that the other person was a STAFF member! She was bellowing like that to a person who worked there!! I’m starting to wonder if maybe she has something wrong with her, you know, perhaps she’s not quite right, on the spectrum or whatever, who knows... maybe she just can’t help herself... or maybe she even knows this person, but I just had the vibe that she was filled with “righteous zeal” (zeal for her Jeho-blah...)
She starts to stutter. Stammer. Looks down at the floor. Looks back up.
I am still there.
“Well, I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses...” (She said it!! She actually said it! I almost can’t believe it! But she’s looking very embarrassed (at her appearance? at her ridiculous beliefs? at her silly outburst? I don’t know her to know...)
But here she is, looking very embarrassed, mumbling, trying to explain, to “give a witness” and I had to admire her zeal.
“... and we believe that saying bless you comes from an ancient superstition...”
I am opening my eyes wide in utter disbelief and shock at hearing such wild, crazy things (I have very expressive, large eyes, 👀 lol, and I know my eyes, when opened really big, can be a bit spooky - think ending of original “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, though, thank goodness, I am somewhat prettier)
And she actually goes there!!! To me, a complete stranger, in the middle of this store, she says:
”... an ancient superstition which believed that when you opened your mouth, demons would enter your body ...”
(She also explains why people clink glasses together before toasting, it is to scare those mighty & powerful demons away with these little glass clinks... and is, of course, why JWs also don’t toast or clink their glasses together. She knows her JW superstitions! Boy oh boy, those JWs are brave souls who either: have no fear of demons, or are so afraid of demons they can’t shit straight. Anyway. )
So here I am:
and she’s all 👹👺🤡👽☠️💀👻👿🤖
and in the end, she could barely look me in the eye, she sort of sputtered and muttered to a halt and I said something like,
and that was about it.