To Bless you or Not to Bless you

I was at a bookstore yesterday, strolling through aisles in no particular order when David Foster Wallace’s book Consider the Lobster and Other Essays stopped me in mid-stride.
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I opened it, flipped through it, and read a few pages from the chapter on “How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart.”  By the time I was done reading this excerpt and its subsequent pages, I was hooked and purchased the book.

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In the midst of being mesmerized by Wallace’s wit, I heard someone sneeze ten to twelve feet to my right.  I wanted to bless him.   If I raised my voice a certain amount, to “Bless you,” he would’ve heard me.  I didn’t say anything, though.  He was twelve to fifteen inches too far away.  Ten minutes later, he sneezed again.  Once more, I thought about blessing him and ended up not saying anything.

Have you ever wanted to bless someone and ended up thinking too much and too long about whether or not you should that any decision to do so would’ve been silly?  Or, if you’ve never thought about blessing a stranger who’s just sneezed, what about picking up something someone has dropped? Or, calling out to someone who’s just dropped something to alert them?  Do you do it without a second thought or do you do a cost-benefit analysis before deciding?

8 thoughts on “To Bless you or Not to Bless you

  1. Philippe

    Les grands athlètes sont des gens extraordinaires. Ils sont au pinacle de leur sport particulier, ayant surpassé milliers, même des millions, de leurs concurrents. Quel talent supréme, quelle ambition implacable, quel dévouement résolu, quel poètes du corps.

    Chaque grand athlète a une émouvante histoire personnelle, impliquant des variations d’une histoire de misère à la richesse. Et, très important, ils sont tous très intelligents. Même boxeurs. Même Mike Tyson.

    Reply
  2. gillianholding

    On the analysis/decision thing, I know what you mean. I was stopped in the street today by a charity worker. I was in a hurry and politely marched on. A few seconds later I thought I’m not in that much of a hurry, I could stop… But what an odd thing to do, to turn back to a total stranger. I wrestled with it a bit more but the moment had gone. I carried on walking.

    Reply
    1. sittingpugs Post author

      Hey Gillian, thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

      I’m not in that much of a hurry, I could stop… But what an odd thing to do, to turn back to a total stranger

      There certainly is a window of opportunity in which to go back and do anything would be awkward…especially in these contexts. And for whom is it more awkward?

      I usually resort to “I really have to go to the bathroom, so I’m gonna go do that and then come back”…but then not come back.

      By the way, was my entry a random find?

      Reply
  3. gillianholding

    No, not random really. You commented on my blog after it was freshly pressed a while back, and I had a spare moment and decided to visit a few new blogs from amongst visitors to mine!

    Reply
  4. jammer5

    I’ve done both at one time or another. I stopped and helped a woman push her car off the road after it stalled. No big deal, I thought. A couple of years later, my car stalled and a young kid pulled over and helped me push my car off the road. Maybe Karma, maybe coincidence.

    I like David Foster Wallace. I suppose he goes on in the same chapter about our obsession with watching sport’s heroes fail: Tiger Woods, Marion Jones, Tonya Harding . . . I’ll just have to get his book and find out.

    Reply

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