As you know, I'm in the thick of MIT right now. Yesterday was an academic expo which gave freshmen a chance to explore booths set up by all the majors, programs, and sports teams. I walked away with a bunch of free swag (including a nice 10 ft Ethernet cable) but there was one item of devious swag that I'd like to discuss further, and that is the Terrascope Cactus. An organization called Terrascope does something here, and to advertise that, they decided it would be a good idea to hand 200 of the 1,000 freshmen a small cactus. Now, use you brain here, what happens when a ton of people in a small area have cacti? Nothing good, that's for sure!
I try not to touch cacti as a rule of thumb, but people kept pointing out that it was fuzzy and fun to pet. Well, I couldn't resist, because I mean look at how cute it is! I pet it and "ooh"d and "aw"d and then went back to exploring booths. Then, all of a sudden, something hurt in my hand. Then, something else. Then, something really hurt my lip. All of a sudden I was in quite a bit of pain and couldn't figure it out. I left the gym and went outside to figure out what was going on.
Apparently that fuzzy cactus had allowed me to strip hundreds of tiny barbs out of it, which promptly embedded themselves in my skin and pores. I, of course, had rubbed my face, which now had cactus covering its lips. This was problematic, because I was in quite a bit of pain and had no way of getting the barbs out. I spent 5 hours doing various activities and meetings before I had a chance to get back to my dorm and attempt a recovery. I tried duct tape, which worked ok for my face, but failed miserably with my hands. Later I tried running a rope really fast through my hands, giving my a rope burn but getting rid of cacti. In the end, many of barbs are gone, but a few remain, slowly swelling the areas of my body they reside in.
There are two lessons in all of this:
1) DON'T EVER GIVE OUT CACTI TO A BIG GROUP OF PEOPLE
2) DON'T EVER PET A CACTUS