My poor wife had to suffer through along with me because of something I learned from my Dad. He was of the belief that if you tried to stifle a sneeze, dire consequences would follow. He would warn us that if we held back a sneeze, we ran the risk that we might blow our brains out of our ears. As a kid, I kind of knew he was kidding, but to hear my Dad sneeze made a believer out of me. It would shake the house! He held nothing back. Mom would fuss at him because it would scare her to death!
All these years later, I'm still a heavy sneezer. Saturday I put on an epic display. By the time dinner rolled around, Pam very calmly turned to me after a particularly forceful effort asking, "Is that really necessary?" Bless her heart.
Around midnight, my fitful sleep was interrupted by...well, there's no need to go into the gory details. Suffice it to say that more Benadryl was needed...STAT. So, I went downstairs, not wanting to wake her up. I threw a couple of the tiny pink pills down, then laid on the couch waiting for relief, a box of tissues in hand. Then it happened. I could feel the pressure building, the slight tickle somewhere deep inside my beleaguered nasal passages. This was going to be huge. I scrambled for a clean tissue, a couple of tissues. Despite being downstairs, I sensed that this particular sneeze might have sleep interrupting characteristics not only for Pam but for the neighbors. I remembered her plaintive plea, "Is this really necessary?" So, against my every instinct, I slammed the tissues over my mouth and nose stifling the mighty force rising within me. Just like the recoil from a shotgun blast, the sneeze lifted me six inches off of the sofa...whereupon I felt a pop. I had pulled a muscle between my shoulder blades. The pain was immediate and excruciating. I might not have blown my brains out through my ears, but pulling a muscle in my back is the next worse thing.
Once again, Dad was right.