Your assignment has suddenly immolated

It's hard enough already to work 20 hours straight the night before a paper is due in hopes that you squeeze out a 75 per cent, but for it to suddenly burst into flames when you’re handing it in, man that’s rough.

But wait, this was in front of class, meaning this scenario has changed. Now you face what I determine to be three different and horrifyingly enjoyable situations that I am well-prepared to give advice on.

First and foremost: you are a witch (or warlock if you’re male and/or politically correct). Don’t feel bad; in fact, be awed that your magical talents have blossomed and you already have an affinity to destroy. Think about it: you have some pool of ether that you can wield willy-nilly and go on quests of sub-par adventure! That’s every video gamer, fantasy-lover, or general escapist’s dream come true!

Unfortunately, everyone in your class has seen your spark, and now will try to burn you alive like that failed fire/agi/burn spell you used and we’ll have to see you burned at a pyre in the middle of the SLC courtyard. Do you know how long that takes? It’s either that or they bore the campus by drowning you in the pools that we never advertise or use, or push you off a cliff. It’s all very bureaucratic.

I’m not a fan of that scenario at all, not because the cleanup would be murder, but that I’m sure you’d be a fantastic contribution to our Quidditch team.

Okay, if you’re not a witch, let’s say what happened was a freak accident. Let’s say that a solar flare or something rushed over the planet, and the stark increase in cosmic energy overwhelmed the paper into combustion. Cool. Also cool: this would probably give everyone, or a percentage at least, superpowers. Or instant death. Not as cool.

The next few days will be experimentation time as you and everyone who survived develop and test out their latent superhumanness. Which, if I gather correctly from current comic books, means that no one is happy, having powers sucks, and you’re going to go through a second phase of angstiness in your life. Expect high chances of laser beams, thrown elements, and the worst villain and superhero monologuing that makes drama majors cry.

Finally: none of these fantastic things happened, and your life is suddenly more exciting than ever before. Seriously, there&rsquo;s a good chance that it was your professor just testing his latest invention: a hybrid flamethrower-laser. Also, he has become hell-bent on getting revenge for not getting tenure because &ldquo;21 casualties is too many,&rdquo; apparently. So, with that in mind, you need to run. Like, away, and slalom, damn you! You&rsquo;re probably not the source of his ire, but you <em>have</em> been half-assing his class so far and, well, destroying you and your paper is a great way to start his tear into the campus. Turn every corner, dodge, slide, just get away and let the authorities handle it. There&rsquo;s a good chance that a secret sect of policing physicists (think <em>Ghostbusters</em>) is aware of the increase in tachyon particles and is on the way.

In every case, these things wouldn&rsquo;t have happened if you just did the assignment earlier than you did. &lsquo;Cause maybe you&rsquo;re actually sleep-deprived enough that one of these things will be true. Maybe your future will be filled with laser beams. Whatever. <em>I</em> like lasers, anyway.


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