Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 19:13:17 EDT

From: Michael Montgomery N270053[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]VM.SC.EDU

Subject: No subject given

Dear Ron:

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.

Michael Montgomery