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OUT TO PASTOR: Have nose, will sneeze

Many things about me could be called into question, and a lot has. I get that.

However, the most attractive thing about me is my nose. I am not sure of the reason why, it looks like anybody else’s nose.

My nose, however, attracts everything around it, from dust to pollen and other unmentionables.

This past week has been no exception. If it was in the air, it was in my nose. I do not know why my nose is so attractive to things, but there it is. I am the one that suffers the consequences of that attractive nose of mine.

It seems the older I get, the more attractive my nose gets. I do not know if that is old age or if I am just beginning to notice it. When I was younger, of course, I was busy with other things, although I cannot remember what they were. Now that I am older, I have more time to pay attention to stupid things like my nose.

I can sneeze at the drop of a hat, which is one reason I do not wear hats anymore.

One mystery surrounds my sneezing. When I start sneezing, it has to be at least three sneezes. Why three? You’ll have to ask my nose about that. It never fails; my sneeze is a consistent triplet activity.

Coming into the house the other day, I stopped and started one of those sneezing fits. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said, “Why didn’t you sneeze outside before you came into the house?”

I know she can control everything around her, including me, which is the difference between her and me. The one thing I can never control is my nose. If I could control my nose, I probably could be a happier person.

My nose will sneeze whenever it wants to sneeze, and I have no authority over that decision. It never asks my permission!

I only know three seconds after I sneeze that I am going to sneeze. That creates many problems with me during this time of the year.

My wife once instructed me that when I sneeze, I need to sneeze into the elbow of my shirtsleeve.

This has caused me to change shirts at least three times a day, which has made the laundry basket a problem.

One time my wife asked, “Why are there so many of your shirts in the laundry basket?”

“Just look at the right sleeve,” I instructed her.

When she did, an awful Yuk sound came from her direction.

This week, my sneezing has been the worst I have ever known it. I do not have a cold, the flu, or any sinus infection, just a nose that sneezes all the time. I do not have a headache or sore throat, or clogged lungs. I am just sneezing for no reason at all, which is a source of frustration for me.

I hate it when I am about to take a sip of coffee, and I sneeze. After I jump up and do a happy dance, I change my trousers for clean ones. Coffee can really be hot, especially when you sneeze.

Is there such a thing as a sneezeologist? I sure would like to get some counsel on how to control my sneezing. Somebody needs to be an expert on sneezing. Sure, I am an expert on sneezing, but not on how to quit sneezing. That is my biggest problem.

Every Sunday, I am so frightened that in the middle of my sermon I am going to have a sneezing fit. Nothing could clear the church quicker than one of my sneezing fits to be sure.

I once asked my wife, “Do you think that sneezing is an exercise?”

Looking at me, she said rather soberly, “Well, it’s an exercise on my patience.”

I am not sure if that was a positive answer or not. Although I am skeptical, I did not want to ask and find out for certain. I exercised my right to keep my mouth shut.

My wife and I went out to eat dinner the other night, and the restaurant was rather crowded. Everything was going quite excellent, we ordered and the waitress went to process our order, and we enjoyed our time together.

Then it happened. I did a very loud triple sneeze heard all through the restaurant.

“Thanks,” my wife said very quietly, “for all the attention our way.”

I looked around, the people were looking at me, and I could not see anyone smiling. I was afraid to smile back at anybody. I was tempted to explain what happened, but I thought otherwise.

I then thought of what Solomon once said. “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:28).

I may not be able to control my sneezes, but I think with a great deal of work and concentration, I can keep my mouth shut when necessary.

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail The church web site is

Ellis County Press

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