It’s a rare thing when I give you a gift, and it’s an even rarer thing when I accidentally give you a gift that is covered in poison. We’re not even going to discuss how rare it is when I give you a gift covered in poison that I had to smuggle across international borders. Backing up now…

I threw myself off a bicycle several years ago, and the end result is a neck that just refuses to cooperate anymore. That has made me the most high maintenance diva of pillowdom. I put Goldilocks to shame with my pickiness, but since they actually frown on you laying down in the bedding aisle and having a snooze with all of the pillows, I resort to buying one of each, testing them all out for a few weeks, then tossing the ones that fail to live up to my exacting neck standards.

When I finally found the Pillow of all Pillows, I (in my merlot-induced flash of epic greatness) decided that I should take the pillow with me when I went out of the country on business. HOW could I possibly be expected to sleep on the plane and to stay in a strange hotel room for a week without the downy goodness of my pillow of perfection? I washed it very carefully to make sure I wasn’t transporting any kind of contaminants in its fluffy interior, then I packed it in one of those suck bags that flattens your stuff for you, and off I went.

But then somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean I realized I had neglected to bring a suck device…if I opened this bag of the future and my pillow sprang back to life, I would have no way of getting it back home with me. Better to risk a week of pain to preserve a lifetime of great sleep in my own bed. I left my poor forgotten pillow in its suck bag in my suitcase and forged ahead like a veritable pioneer. I was the fucking Laura Ingalls Wilder of international pillow-less travel.

Then it molded. A lot. It looked like I had rolled it in peppercorns like a cheese log.

Yes, somehow the suck devices in my own home failed me, and so did the dryer, apparently. My pillow’s gooey middle somehow stayed wet, and the vacuum didn’t make it an actual vacuum in there. Go figure, I cannot recreate a science lab in my laundry room.

But somewhere towards the end of my trip, a very dear person whom I happened to invite to spend the night in my hotel room showed up. In the morning, out of sheer gratitude for the fact that she did not kill me, flay me, and wear my skin like a Halloween costume, I offered her the disgusting mold pillow on the grounds that it really was a very expensive pillow, and if she washed it in bleach and napalm, it would be good as new. She gratefully accepted (a little too gratefully, making me reconsider the skin costume fear for a second), if I would sign it.

Yes, she wanted me to autograph the space bag full of American mold. Southern mold, to be exact.

Either she’s a super fan, or she was getting me to incriminate myself by signing my name on the poisonous pillow so she could turn me over to the agriculture authorities and get me sent to a gulag somewhere. Of course I signed it…vanity wins out over self-preservation in my world every. damn. time.

But last week, she admitted something horrible to me. Not only has she never opened and napalmed my gift, she let her son pee on it while she wasn’t home, and in the cleanup process, she threw my pillow away, still in its suck bag. My very incriminating moldy pillow suck bag is at this very moment on its way to a landfill in Europe. Or to the authorities. I can’t actually predict these things.

In other news, Sarah Jakob is the best sport on the planet for keeping me company in my hotel room, smuggling my mold pillow out under her coat, and then storing the evidence of my crime in her house for the past two months. You’re a trooper, and thanks for not wearing my skin!