It Happened to Me: My Bagel Caught on Fire


The day my life changed.

Picture this: November 1st, 2014 a young freshman girl wandering through the servery deciding what it is exactly she wants to eat. Having been a Kenyon student for two months, she finally feels as though she’s starting to get a grip on her Peirce options. She could go to the salad bar, or International, or… or she could get a bagel.

Now pause this picture. Believe it or not, that girl was me. I know, I know. Two years at Kenyon has transformed me beyond belief. I am no longer that unsteady, unsure girl who braved the servery that early November morning. I’m smarter, debatably stronger, and much more equipped to deal with stressful Peirce situations than I was then. But this story isn’t about me. It’s about me, in late 2014.

I don’t really remember the exact events leading up to me placing the bagel in the toaster, probably because they’re incredibly mundane and not worth repeating. All I know is that upon turning away from the toaster, some weird toaster mongrol hell-bent on making me confused and afraid lit a match to the bottom of my bagel. By the time I returned to the toaster, one half of the bagel was almost completely in flames, lighting the interior of the machine like a huge orb of light and power in space.

Everything froze. Well, not everything. It was mostly me who froze, everyone else decidedly unfazed by the catastrophe unfolding before our eyes. I remember looking around me for help, hoping to spot a Peirce employee or student firefighter who might offer me some guidance as to what I should do next. The bagel continued to move forward through the machine as if these kinds of pyrotechnics were normal and part of everyday life.

My heart rate, which at that point was incredibly high, started to slow. The people around me continued to move. In my mind, I knew that this wasn’t so much a life-altering altercation as a really funny story to tell others. I found one of my friends in the servery and said “my bagel just caught the fuck on fire,” and that was that. I was no longer afraid. I was alive.

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