And then it happened.  Despite all of my careful planning and practicing, I forgot everything I was going to say.  This is a common occurrence in college students when we are forced to do presentations.  We are meant to read our papers but to not stare at it.  We are supposed to just sort of glance down, absorb all the words, and then spew them out like a vocabulary sponge.  The problem with this method is that it is quite easy to lose one’s place, which leads to one becoming flustered.  Once one is flustered one inevitably starts to babble nonsense because the silence is just too awkward.  I had lost my place, and i could feel the fluster rising in my bowels like a vengeful eagle.  I had a choice to make, and i chose instead of being sad to be smashing!

My thought process.

You see, there is a recent (or perhaps not so recent, I do only get internet access in my cave once a week) internet fad in which one replaces someone’s face with the face of Nigel Thornberry.  Above is a great example, but there are many others, like this one

The movie would have been much more smashing like this.

If you don’t know who Nigel Thornberry is, then I pity you, because you missed out on a big part of the late 90’s and early 00’s.  Nigel is a character from the cartoon “The Wild Thornberrys,” in which Nigel and his family traveled around the world making animal documentaries.  He described things that he liked as “smashing!”  You probably wont find this post amusing in the slightest if you never watched the show, but if you are a truly devoted fan of my blog and wish to slog through this post, then more power to you I suppose.  Now, where was I?

Ah yes, my paper.  I had worked on this particular paper for over 3 months, it was my senior thesis after all, and I had forgotten literally everything about it and had lost my place while reading.  I think it was about crime in ancient rome… or maybe fish.  This was bad, but don’t worry, gentle reader, for I was not in any true danger.  The penalty for messing up one’s paper had been recently reduced from beheading to a mere 13 lashes from the ol’ cat o’ nine tails, but even though death was not a possible outcome, the situation was quite perilous indeed.

“Ahem,” I said, clearing my throat.  What could I do?  Smashing, I need to be smashing!  And so I became smashing, as smashing as even Nigel Thornberry himself.  Once the transformation was complete, I remembered everything.

A brief depiction of my metamorphoses.

“You know what?” I said, picking up my papers and tossing them in the air, “Who needs these old things?  I’m sure that you and I are quite done with hearing papers read, am I right?”  There was a general nod of assent from the audience.  some of the sleeping people had even woken up from the fluttering noise of my paper blowing out the window.  I gave the room a quick look around until my eyes finally rested on an individual who had been on his computer during all of the presentations.

“You!” I said, pointing at him.  He jumped in his seat and looked around, wondering who I was pointing at, until he realized that there was no one near him.  He pointed at his chest and mouthed the word “me?”

“Yes, you!  Come hither.” I beckoned with one of my fingers.  He came to the front and stood before the podium.  “What is your name, lad?”


“Smashing!” I turned back to the audience and gestured to roger. “Roger is going to help me demonstrate the difference between manifest theft and non manifest theft in ancient rome.”  I set a pen on the podium and then turned around to face the wall.  So far, so smashing!

“Now, Roger,” I said, still facing the wall, “If you would be so kind as to take my pen from the podium and then signal once you have accomplished this simple task.”  I waited for but a few moments until I heard a slight cough from behind.  I spun about.

“You rascal!” I roared, “You’ve stolen my pen!”  Roger looked absolutely terrified.  He held out his hands in protest and began mumbling something about me telling him to take.  I laughed, which seemed to calm him somewhat.

“Roger, Roger, Roger… this is just a demonstration!  I know you didn’t actually steal my pen.  This was merely a demonstration of non manifest theft.  If the audience will recall, I didn’t find out anything of mine had been stolen until after the deed was done.  That’s why it’s non manifest!  I didn’t actually see it happen  Now, if you would be so kind as to return the pen to the podium, we can continue.  Good, that’s good.  Let’s give a round of applause to Roger here folks.  He’s doing a great job.”  The audience, now all interested in what I was doing, politely clapped.  Roger seemed to be encouraged by this, and he puffed his chest out a little.

“Now, roger, I would like you to once again steal my pen, but this time I will be watching.  Go ahead whenever you are ready.”  Roger strutted over to the podium and plucked my pen off of it with a flourish.  The audience gasped a little at his boldness.

“You rascal!” I roared, “You’ve stolen my pen!”  Roger gave me a quite demeaning look and smiled.

“Yeah?” he asked, holding his arms out wide and turning to the audience, “and what are you gonna do about it, nerd?”  He barked out a harsh laugh and I grudgingly gave Roger a mental commendation.  He was playing his heart to perfection.  The audience booed him and shouted that he should return the pen to me this instant.  Smashing!

“Why,” I responded, pulling a gladius, a Roman style sword, from it’s hiding place under the podium.  Roger turned at the hair raising sound of metal scraping. “Kill you, of course!  Such is the cost of manifest theft, you simple fool!” I raised the deadly blade high for a killing blow.  It’s metal glinted harshly off the fluorescent lights, and for just a moment, we could imagine that we were not in a science classroom at all, but were instead standing on the blood soaked sands of the arena.  I was a mighty executioner, Nigelus Thornberris, and Roger was but a runaway slave, condemned to death by stabbing.  Such spectacles were common enough in the Roman world, though not as popular as the gladiatorial bouts that brought such fame to the colosseum.  He looked up at my sword with fear in his eyes, but I had no pity.  Killing was my business, and business was good.

In a flash, it was over, and we were back in the science room, with it’s cold tile floor and institutional overhead florescent lights.  Roger was on his knees, his hands clasped before him, pleading for his life.  All of the bluster that had characterized his performance beforehand was gone.

“Roger,” I sighed, shaking my head and lowering my gladius, “Roger, Roger, Roger… I’m not going to kill you!”   Roger sagged with relief.  The audience muttered in disapproval.

“Oh thank god,” Roger breathed, “for a minute there I thought…”

“That’s the guards job!  Guards!”  Two praetorian guards burst into the room in full battle gear and marched over to roger, who backed away in fear.  They quickly closed upon him and grabbed him, and then dragged him away.  The bewildered Roger couldn’t seem to decide between screaming “No!  Nooo!” and  “What?  How?”

“Smashing!” I laughed as he was dragged out the door, “That guy had been pissing me off with his incessant typing for the past hour!  How rude!”  The audience followed my example and burst into laughter as well.

“Now, if you would permit me,” I sad, pulling out a collection of papers from behind my back, “I would like to continue reading my paper.”

“Smashing!” They all responded, and so I read.


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