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Wednesday, January 29, 2003
By Paul Ford
It is your right to sneeze!
If you take an electric back massager, the heavy, thick kind that plugs in and has a plastic handle, not the sexual kind, turn it on, put it between your upper lip and nostrils, then wait a moment, you'll sneeze. At first this is a painful and complicated process, and it makes the inside of your head itch. It feels like your sinuses are filled with bedsprings. But after some practice, the release comes in seconds: your congestion vanishes, the inside of your head turns to liquid, and you burst forth with a massive sneeze.
It looks and sounds odd when you do this, and when you do it for the first time in front of a significant other or friend they may stare. The look will be similar to the look you received when you drew false eyebrows on the cat after you shaved it, or the time you cooled the soup with compressed air, or that night you went out to the movies wearing your sweater as a pair of pants. But stand up for your individuality! It is your right to sneeze. Forget the alternatives: I've tried pepper, but it's nasty, and ayurvedic neti pots, where you suck salt water through your nostrils, are good and cleansing, but messy, and nowhere near as exciting.
Once this works for you, and you want to share the story of your sneeze life with others, you might find that some people dislike frank talk of sneezing. They see the sneeze as private, personal, something to hide and for which to apologize. The same people will talk about colonics until the polyps come home, but discussing an electric sneezing device is beyond their mores. Leave those people to their congestion. You and I will have clear heads.
See also: The Nose, by Nikolai Gogol.