Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 19:13:17 EDT From: Michael Montgomery Subject: 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