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They Did What?: 

This man has blogged every sneeze he’s had since July 2007


Sneeze #1,356:  Strong, blue shirt.

Do you remember how many times you’ve sneezed this year? What about this month, this week, or even today? Most people wouldn’t have an answer, but then most people aren’t Peter Fletcher – a man who has blogged every sneeze he’s had since July 2007.

His blog – the appropriately named Sneezecount – is a thing of meticulous beauty. Each entry is titled with the sneeze number (4,337 and counting), its strength, and a brief detail about something he was doing or thinking at a time. These details range from ordinary tasks (’emails’, ‘moving wheely bins’) to funny coincidences (‘sending email re Sneeze 4,307’), to the unexplained and enigmatic (‘Richard Branson’s Nookie Island’).

In March 2008, Fletcher recorded his record number of sneezes (95), while the lowest number of sneezes in a month came in September 2014 (23).

The serial sneezer provides a little more context for the blog in a section titled ‘Reflection on counting sneezes’, admitting that it began as a joke – “a playful satire on the blogosphere” – before turning into something more intriguing. Along the way Fletcher began to learn more about his sneezing patterns, and what they told him about his life.

“Reflections on the counting of sneezes”

“It [updating sneezecount] has revealed how much time I spend in the ‘Office/spare bedroom’, in front of a computer. It is interesting to note how much time I spend in this place, and compare it with how little I manage to get done,” notes Fletcher on his blog.

In others ways, though, he explains how counting sneezes has been a worthwhile and even meaningful undertaking.

“Once I had been counting sneezes for a short time, I became disturbed when I saw someone sneeze, and then not look closely at their watch or mobile phone and take out and write something illegible in a notebook” writes Fletcher. “Witnessing people sneeze and then not record it has come to feel unsettling and wrong, as if they are losing the sneeze, letting it go to waste. Does this mean I am enhancing my life by counting my sneezes?”

We’re not sure, Peter – but if such a thing exists as a sneezing expert, then surely it’s you. Sneezecount is quite an achievement (achew-vement, anyone?) nonetheless.

Illustration via djapart / Shutterstock.

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