>A surge of excitement ran through me as my lit professor handed back our papers from the previous class. I had worked extra hard on mine, and thought that it was one of the best things I had written in a while. In addition to telling the story of my best friend from 4th grade and exploring racism in my hometown, it had metaphors!

The professor generally keeps the papers she likes best at the top of the pile, so I was a bit disconcerted when mine came in the middle of the stack. Looking it over, I was struck by the lack of comments on it. "Oh my God," I fretted. "She hated it!" In the following nanoseconds, I realized that I was a talentless hack who should drop out of school and never show my face again. Then I decided that it might be more productive to ask her why she didn't like it.

"Oh, I always look forward to reading your work," she replied. "But I read this one already, so I was disappointed that it wasn't anything new."

"What? You did?" I urged the hamster to run more quickly on the wheel that powers my brain so that I could figure out how this was possible. Maurice grunted at me before reluctantly picking up the pace.

"Yes, this is a nice expansion of something you handed in earlier in the semester."

I frowned. I knew that I had been thinking about this particular story for a few weeks, but I was pretty sure that it hadn't left my head until I wrote the paper I now clutched in my bony hand. Finally, Maurice got his furry ass in gear and I realized that I had, in fact, handed in the same basic story my second week of class. Worse, I had just looked at that first story again on Monday night, and thought about where I wanted to go with it, making no connection to the fleshed out version that I eagerly anticipated receiving back on Wednesday night.

Very, very scary. I would think that I completely have lost it, except that I think that Maurice threw some information out of the mental filing cabinet to make room for all the details I learned about the Obama administration's mortgage refinancing and loan modification program. (I am a very good resource on this!) Still, not good.