From what I read on the internet and hear from my family’s Amazon wish lists, it’s close to Christmas time. It’s hard to get really in the spirit of the Most Wonderful Time of the Year when I never really know what time or even day it is.

See, the problem is that I get a cold every year around late November/mid-December, but this year’s different. My immune system’s apparently decided that it’s tired of getting kicked around every year, and this time, it’s going to fight back. The problem is that my immune system is, like its owner, a fairly meek and mild-mannered white guy who doesn’t exercise much. By resolving to take on the young punks who are encroaching on his neighborhood, he’s just proving himself to be pathetically impotent.

Which is all a long-winded way of saying that I’ve been headachey and unable to breathe through my nose for what feels like a month now. The antihistamines and decongestants I’ve been taking are labeled “non-drowsy,” which is technically accurate: I vacillate between hyper-awake, where it’s physically impossible to close my eyes and I feel like I can see through walls, Matrix-style; and comatose. Neither of those is, technically, “drowsy.”

I’ve been getting no longer than 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep at a stretch, and it happens at completely unpredictable times. Last night I got home from work at about 8:30 or so, sat down on the couch to sort through whatever mail the cat hadn’t already eaten, and pulled out the laptop to get some writing done. The next thing I knew, it was 2 AM and I was bolting out of bed, because I had to warn Molly Shannon that the guy she was about to give a big investment check to was actually a grifter, and he hadn’t actually developed a way to regrow limbs, but had an identical twin who’d lost an arm in a mountain-climbing accident. (Did I mention the weird fever dreams I keep having?)

So for the more lucid of you: I hope you’re all enjoying the oncoming Christmas-and-I-suppose-other-holidays-but-really-we-all-know-what’s-the-most-important-one season! To get in the spirit, here’s the first of three YouTube clips of David Sedaris reading his story, “Six to Eight Black Men:”