- You're stuck in a well. You've been there for three days. Your pelvis is broken. Your feet are cold. A rescuer is being lowered to save you. He says to stay calm, that they'd get you out of there in no time. He goes quiet. All you can hear is his fully intact pelvis sliding down the sides of the well. He pipes up again, says his nose is itching, says he'll definitely sneeze if he looks up into the light. You tell him to not look up, that any sudden movement might cause you to slide further down into the well. He looks up. He sneezes. Small rocks land on your head.
- You're on a midnight heist. It's springtime. In the hours leading up to the heist, the vault-code-deciphering guy walked around complaining about the high pollen count in the air. The team leader told him to stock up on antihistamine pills, to go to the pharmacy right away. You know he didn't listen to what he was told since when he returned from the “pharmacy,” he smelled of liquor. Liquor does little to treat the symptoms of hay fever, you read that somewhere. The acrobat guy indicates for everyone to be quiet, that a security guard is near. You see the vault-code-deciphering-guy touch his nose. He sneezes.
- You're sitting in an open-plan office. A colleague two desks to your left sneezes followed immediately by another colleague three desks to your right. You now find yourself in a quandary. Depending on your workload, you might look up and yell, “Bless both of you!” although that would only serve to aggravate people with more work than you and a sharper sense of humor. A more prudent course of action would be to Google whether there is a flu outbreak in your area and when normal flu becomes avian flu. Since you're now on a mission to save yourself, it's okay to not say “Bless you” to either of your colleagues who sneezed, or to both at once.
- You're in the finals of the World House of Cards Championship. The doors and windows of the main hall are closed, the place is basically a sealed-off Tupperware bowl. You've reached seven stories high with a fairly solid-looking criss-cross construct that reaches halfway to the ceiling. “No Sneezing!” posters are on the walls to your right, left and immediate front. You place the first foundation card of the eighth story, which is a height you know will elevate you into the house of cards record books, and cement your place in folklore. A judge approaches. In the crook of his left arm is a clipboard. In between the thumb and forefinger of his right hand, a pencil. Attached to the back of the pencil is a small pink feather. The judge lifts the pencil to scratch his nose. The feather touches the membrane inside his nose. He sneezes.
- You're attending the monthly get-together of your local satanic cult. The understanding is that no one should use any Christian terminology in a context that flatters or promotes the religion. Members have been expelled for minor indiscretions such as calling out “Good God!” after stubbing a toe, and more severe gaffs such as saying “Jesus help us” under their breath while seeing a cat beheading for the first time. A newbie walks in. He sits down right next to you at the front. You're both an arm's length from the altar and the high priest holding the evening's cat. The newbie pulls a tiny tin of Copenhagen snuff from his pocket. He opens the tin and brings a substance to his nose. He snuffs. And sneezes.
- You're in an old-age home. Your pelvis is out of kilter, having been smashed when you fell down that well years ago. You're building a tremendous house of cards that you can barely see since your eyes are riddled with cataracts, having stared at a computer screen for three decades. You're totally deaf, having attended one too many satanic rituals and heard one too many cats killed. An orderly walks in to change your bedding. He sneezes.