Is there a doctor on the plane? Specifically, someone with a PhD in Mathematics with a focus on algebraic geometry?”

The flight attendants call out again, making eye contact with me.

“I got this.”

I rise. The blonde flight attendant swoons. The other takes me to the cabin where the panic-stricken pilot hands me a phone.

“The terrorists have hacked into the mainframe! They will turn off the engine unless someone can tell them how to relate algebraic sets to ideals in polynomial rings over closed fields!”

I pause, dramatically, and think back to my thesis.

“Use Hilbert's Nullstellensatz.”

As the lights in the cockpit flicker back on, the passengers cheer. My mother, who was watching the whole thing on Facebook Live, calls to apologize for constantly asking why I didn’t become a physician like my sister. The airline apologizes for hassling me about all the pills in my luggage, and says it wasn't weird to bring that much on a two-day trip.

After I collect my hotel key and head up the staircase, a band of robbers burst into the lobby. They demand everyone hand over their valuables and begin confiscating wallets and phones. Slowly, the crooks work their way towards where I am crouched. When they mount the first steps, I cry out and empty my bottles of Advil, Xanax, Viagra, Lunesta, and Sertraline, sending a small torrent of pills cascading down the steps.

Several robbers fall to the first floor, the landing knocking them unconscious. Enraged, the remaining thieves speed up but meet my Bengay Extra-Strength squirted on the top step. Three more tumble down. With a nasal decongestant in both hands, I spray the last two standing in the eyes. After the police take the incapacitated felons into custody, the hotel thanks me with a complimentary upgrade and access to the concierge lounge for life.

En route to the math conference, the road is blocked by police cars. Ahead and above, I see a tearful man standing on the freeway overpass, eyeing the ground. He cries out that he's going to jump because there's nothing worth living for. I borrow a loudspeaker from the police chief and deliver my stand-up routine on alternative energy sources, the one that the audience at Simon Comedy Club failed to fully appreciate. As I arrive at my killer final line, “Windmills? I'm not a big fan!” he joyfully allows the chuckling police to pull him back over the barricade to safety. He turns out to be a TV executive who then books me to do standup on several nightly talk shows in my spare time. I still make it to the conference on time.

While I take the stage to give my presentation, I trip and send papers spilling across the room. As my helpful audience crawls underneath tables to gather my work, an earthquake strikes, topping heavy lights and bookcases over the seats. As I fall, I accidentally butt-dial my University’s Geology Department. Their discovery of this recording whips them into a research frenzy that culminates in the creation of the new field of Seismo-Mobile Studies. I still give a passionate presentation and receive a standing ovation.

During the final lecture of the symposium, I slip out to use the restroom. Over the next hour, I return to urinate twice more. Each time, I notice that the water in the toilet bowls is angling more and more towards one side. Perplexed, after my third visit, I investigate. When I observe the building from the outside, I discover that several wires holding up that half of the building have frayed. A disaster seems imminent. I rush back up and stop the chair of my department from entering the bathroom, just before the room collapses to the ground. “Thank goodness you have such a small bladder!” he gushes. My tenure application is finally approved.


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