I come from a long line of pretty loud sneezers, so I am fairly used to loud and long sneezes. No one in my family ever tried to tone their sneeze volume down, so I just got used to it.

That said, the Crankee Yankee has a sneeze loud enough to break the sound barrier. If I am lucky enough to catch him right before he sneezes; that is, when he closes his eyes, sticks out his tongue and has a hand already raised; I’m ok. I’ve seen the visual warning and can prepare for it.

But usually it’s a surprise. And even more usually, he is right behind me when he does it. I have dropped dishes, silverware, pans, plastic containers full of food when Hurricane Achooo attacks. Seriously, I have never heard anyone sneeze as loud as he does.

I was once at a zoo in Texas and, since I love elephants, I was standing near the enclosure, admiring their size, their endearing floppy ears and their little dark eyes ringed in more wrinkles than Father Time. One of them sneezed loudly and splatteringly. Even that hardly registered with me. (And luckily, I was not showered in elephant snot!)

But the Crankee Yankee’s loud sneezes puts even the elephants to shame. I did some research about why some people sneeze louder than others; usually it’s all about lung capacity. My own take on his ear-shattering sneezes are what I call “driving out the evil spirits.”

He must have a lot of them.