Alan Chartock: I Publius — Sleepless in Great Barrington

Of course, you worry a lot. You worry that Donald Trump is president of the United States and that about 38 percent of the people, including almost all of the Republicans, support this lying liar.

Ah, sleep! We all need it. We read about it. We each have our methods for how to do it. I am sick to death of all the pseudo information. No blue lights. No white lights. Keep the room cold. Use the right mattress. Don’t sleep on your stomach. Don’t sleep on your back. Get out of bed if you can’t sleep. Stay in bed even if you can’t sleep.

But wait, Alan. You’re no sleep expert. You have a Ph.D. in political science. You were a lifelong professor. You run radio stations. You write columns. You get up very early in the morning (usually by 2 a.m.) to do your first radio “shot.” You try to get to bed by 7:30 p.m. You have learned to use a sleep mask and now, because of your bad back, you sleep in a different room on your side. You’ve had a lot of back operations. You walk at least 4 miles a day, every day. In fact, your smartphone pedometer says that at the time of this writing, you have walked at least 4 miles for 227 days in a row. You are now completely addicted to that walk and, of course, you are convinced that you have to have that walk or you won’t be able to sleep. That ain’t all.

You take a hot shower every night before you go to bed. You stand there and let the hot water run all over you, but especially, you let it seep into your head. You have been lamely telling people your theory that hot water seeps into the brain and settles it down. No matter how many people tell you that you are full of it, you’re sticking to your story.

Of course, you worry a lot. You worry that Donald Trump is president of the United States and that about 38 percent of the people, including almost all of the Republicans, support this lying liar in order to preserve their privileged lives at the expense of so many who have little or nothing. You heard Joe Biden say that he thought Trump would steal the presidential election, but the lying liar says that he won’t try to steal it even though he has “jokingly” suggested he would.

You are living in a time of pandemic. You wash your hands until they hurt and are chapped. You walk by someone in the supermarket who isn’t wearing a mask and you think, “Well, now I’ll get it for sure.”

You are convinced that your lack of sleep will help kill you and you know that after your sleep app tells you that you have only slept 65 percent of what you need, probably the next night, you’ll make up for it.

So with the Trump threat to American democracy and the pandemic and, of course, the idea that each day makes you older, you don’t sleep that well.

Now with the summertime upon us you have installed an air conditioner to cool things down but it is one of those confounded contraptions that saves power by turning itself on and off all night long, and, of course, every time it does, it wakes you up. Then, when you finally figure out how to turn that feature off, you think about the fact that your wonderful wife is out with Murray the dog and you keep reading alerts from your neighbors that the big bear they call “Irving” is out there. In fact, Roselle met him one night and knocked on the neighbors’ door, but they wouldn’t let her in because they apparently thought she was a home invader.

So there you are. You’ve got Trump, a pandemic, bears in the neighborhood and, the icing on the cake, a chipmunk invasion and squirrels in walls who seem to be eating the house board by board.

To you, I say, “good night.” Oh, yeah, and about the bedbugs …