Friday, March 26, 2010

The Fashionable Sneeze

A sneeze is one of the most voluble yet personal of the involuntary body functions – make sure each one is extra special.

Upon realizing a sneeze is imminent, proper sternutation requires blinking one’s eyes and twitching the nose. This behaviour is for dramatic effect, and also serves as a warning to others that a Great Event is about to unfold and observers should vacate the immediate area.

During this pre-sneeze period, overly dramatic mannerisms should be employed. Beyond the usual phraseology of “Hava!” or “Haba!” as one inhales, one must also dramatically express oneself, as in an opera role. Be expansive in your chest. Wave your arms about and draw attention to your twitching facial features. Shake your head from side to side as you utter your “havas” during inhalation. If the sneeze is not immediately forthcoming, twist up a piece of tissue and thrust it up your nostril.

At the height of your inhalation, squint with your eyes and cease all motion. This is the pause before the Great Storm which is about to erupt. It is a final warning to those nearby that something wondrous is about to be born. Be absolutely still, nose elevated slightly, arms aflutter, tissue in hand, teary eyes about to close in the final moments before the exultant discharge.

As to verbiage questions, many amateur sneezers still use the outdated Finnish technique of little or no utterance at all, merely letting fly with a constrained “ssssshhhhew!” or sudden “Issshhh!”sound. This technique is considered passé these days, though still popular with denture wearers.

The dangers associated with more extreme Silent Sneezers are to be noted. People trying to suppress all sound by holding their nose and forcing their sinuses up into their cerebrums can be a danger to themselves and those around them – particularly in theater settings. Earwax bullets shot into patrons on either side of the sneezer cause needless injury and were the impetus for the Stockholm Sneezing Protocols of 1959. These protocols thankfully eliminate the need for catcher’s mitts and the wearing of combat helmets at recitals.

Now, as with other full body orgasms, for a really high score one must volubly express oneself with proper nouns, expressed over three syllables. Japanese linguistics are prized by aficionados, with “HyyyyyASHi!” being most common.

Of Middle Eastern origin are the popular “BlewHABBa!” and “HaaBLAH-haaaaaa!” phrases. No matter what the opening blastword happens to be, a denouement consisting of some variation of “AH-haa!!” is best. A descending note at the finish is good, but for truly memorable scores, try adding a slight upward intonation at the end of your expulsion, as though asking a question. “HaaBLAhaaa?”

Violent shaking of the cranium following a good sneeze, with associated cheek and lip wobbling, is a must in social circles. It not only allows one to shake off any flecks of foam or spittle remaining in the facial region, it also gives one time to ‘reload’ as it were, and prepare the lungs for another violent episode.

Finally, a cautionary note about arm movements.

While it is assumed that one hand is occupied with a tissue or hanky, the other appendage will usually be violently thrust upward from the waist in a movement so blindingly fast that only high speed cameras are able to record it. This spastic motion, coming as it does with one’s eyes closed and one’s body violently pitching forward in contorted motion, can be cause for concern amongst passersby. More than one pedestrian has been rendered unconscious by the violent uppercut administered to the chin by a sneezing enthusiast.

Do take care.

1 comment:

BDGJM said...

You are quite the student of sternutation. I remembered reading a quote once that sneezing was an exhilarating experience that refreshed the senses. These days, with the seasonal allergies I battle, I find that is sneeze is quite draining (no pun intended).

I find now that a sneeze requires a recovery period of up to two minutes which expands exponentially in the case of serial sneezing. This is made even worse if the next sneeze in the series is near the end of the recovery phase of it predecessor.