Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 22:14:42 EDT From: RonButters Subject: prayers and involuntary bodily ejaculations Michael M. writes: > "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. Hmmmm. Methinks M. is confusing surface structure with deep structure (to use some somewhatarchaic technical language). I suppose "Bless you" COULD be the surface form of "I hereby bless you, sneezer," but it seems more likely that most sneezees do not consider that they personally have the power to bless a sneezer (cf. "Bless me father, for I have sinned") but only the power to ask their Higher Power to bless the sneezer; in other words, the underlying form is "I hereby pray that the Deity will bless you, sneezer!" (Cf. "Bless this house/sneezer [O! Lord I pray. Make it/him/her safe both night and day]"). Michael also says: >"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. I don't attach any importance to the fact that sneezers must close their eyes but farters and burpers need not do so. Surely the devil--who was smart enough to get Eve to eat the apple--can "get in" during the distraction of an anal fricative.