Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 19:13:17 EDT
From: Michael Montgomery N270053[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]VM.SC.EDU
Subject: No subject given
My recollection is that "Bless you!" is appropriate after a sneeze
because the reflexes force you to close your eyes when you sneeze. It
is in this split second when you are not looking that the devil may
sneak in. This is the folklore I remember and don't know where to
reference it, but I don't believe we automatically close our eyes when
we burp, fart, or cough! Just trying to keep eyes open during a sneeze.
By the way, Ron, "Bless you" is not a prayer, the distinctive features
of the latter being that it is phrased in second person (often with a
vocative) and addressed directly to a deity. "Bless you" does not have
these characteristics, so far as I can discern.