A Student’s Lighthearted Musings on Fire Safety

By Monica Delamater

Monica Delamater, a sophomore at SU, was recently nipped for bringing a type of lamp that the university has banned into her dorm room. As a punishment, she had to write a “reflection paper.” Hilarity ensues. This is the actual letter she wrote as a punishment for bringing in the lamp:

When I entered my dorm at the beginning of my sophomore year at Syracuse University,  I was distraught to see that it reminded me of a jail cell.  White washed cinderblocks dominated the entire back wall of the room, the tofu colored drapes hung heavily on the windows, and pinstriped mattresses rested dormant on the bed frames.

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It was right around this time that I realized that decorations were in order.  So my roommate and I took off to the haven for all those who seek refuge against the harsh winds of drab dorms: Target.  When we entered we realized that it was nothing short of heaven.  Fluffy towels colored like gum drops lay in waiting golden pristinely in the bath section, shiny plastic bins were stacked sky high whispering promises of neat and space effective storage, multi layered picture frames with bubbly wooden letters begged to be filled with pictures of “family, friends,” and “good times”.   This, however, was not enough.  It wasn’t until I reached the furniture section that my eyes really popped out of my head.  It was then that I saw the medusa lamp.  It had a stainless steel body, bendable snake like protrusions that could be twisted and turned into any conceivable arrangement to allow for maximum lighting and aesthetic pleasure, and the lamp heads were not white, but a frosty blue and green.

You can imagine my excitement.  Temptation burned through my veins.  I had to have that lamp.  Disregarding the rules I knew to be set in place I wheeled the lamp to the register and swiped my card: the lamp was mine. When we brought the lamp home and up to our room we couldn’t help but admire the warm glow it brought to our living space.  We sought comfort in its twisted tendrils and quirky charm.

I suppose I always thought the rule banning medusa lamps was silly.  “This isn’t really going to cause a fire,” I thought to myself, “what are the odds?”  I was in denial.  My passion for home furnishings had overshadowed my judgment about the importance of fire safety.  I knew I was in the wrong. When the lamp was confiscated I first felt like something had been taken away from me. Hours of pondering ensued.  If my love for whimsical light fixtures had put the other fifty residents of walnut hall in Jeopardy I would forever be responsible.  I had been remiss in my duties as a Syracuse University resident to abide by the rules set in place to protect the students.

The place where the lamp used to proudly stand is now empty.  I often look to that place sandwiched between the microwave and TV stand and imagine those warm beams of light resting on the ends of metal octopus legs.  It is a memory both bitter and sweet.  Reflecting on my wrongdoings has made me realize that medusa lamps are not to be taken lightly. Fire safety is not to be scoffed at.


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