"What's wrong?" I asked my husband as he stumbled into the kitchen. "You look awful."
My husband sniffled to me miserably. "I have a cold."
"Which kind is it?" I wondered. "A Vin Diesel or a Matthew McConaughey?"
"Huh?" He stared at me in bewilderment.
"A Vin Diesel is the kind of cold that comes on fast and furious," I explained. "A Matthew McConaughey meanders around for a while and then, BOOM, it gets you."
My husband gave me a look that was two parts, "my head is completely stuffed," and one part, "my wife is certifiably nuts."
"It's a well known fact that there are hundreds of different cold viruses," I continued. "I thought it made sense to come up with some names for them to keep them straight."
He shook his head. "So you named them after celebrities?"
I shrugged. "Well, I was going to name them after family members, but I thought that might get me in trouble."
He nodded. "Good plan."
Having been on the receiving end of countless nasty colds, I realized that like snowflakes, no two colds were alike. However there were a number of distinct categories that many colds fell into. Of course knowing what kind of cold you have doesn't make it any better, or shorter, or less goopy. But at least it's a somewhat entertaining diversion when you're so congested you feel like your head is filled with cake batter.
"There are about a dozen other colds I have identified so far," I said to my husband, retrieving my master Celebrity Colds list from the junk drawer and reading it to him.
1. The Bruce Willis - The same old cold you get every time.
2. The Sylvester Stallone - The cold that hangs around forever.
3. The Meryl Streep - The cold that is essentially the same as your last cold but with a slight accent on a different symptom.
4. The Robert DeNiro - The cold that makes you feel like someone took a hit out on you.
5. The Joe Pesci - The small but mighty cold.
6. The Shia LaBeouf - The cold that gives you delusions that you're better than you really are
7. The Alec Baldwin - The cold you share with your whole family.
8. The Ryan Gosling - The cold that gives women chills and a fever.
9. The Kardashian - The cold you get from being over-exposed
10. The Arnold Schwarzenegger - The cold that just keeps coming back.
11. The Russell Crowe - The cold that messes up your voice so you can't sing.
12. The Nicholas Cage - The cold that comes in lots of different forms, but no matter what it is, it's never good.
My husband listened to my list and then thought for a moment.
"Well, I look terrible, I sound awful, and the kids are sick of me," he finally said. "What do you call that one?"
I nodded. "The Justin Bieber."
Tracy is a syndicated humor columnist and the author of "Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir"