According to Kate Winslet, the average person touches his face between 2 and 3 thousand times every single day. I don’t know if that’s true, but it scares the hell out of me. And it should scare you too. Unless you haven’t checked your email in the past month, you’ve probably heard about the latest disease craze sweeping the campus. It goes by many names: food poisoning, the runs, the shits, the-oh-my-god-I-can’t-stop-throwing-up’s, and of course, gastroenteritis.

I feel pretty safe in saying that we’re up to epidemic level with this thing. Since intersession, I’ve gotten emails, texts, and calls nearly every day with a notification that someone close to me has come down with this sickness, and that unless I wash my hands continuously until the end of the semester I’m basically guaranteed a bloody shit in the near future. Given the fast rate at which gastro is spreading coupled with Kate Winslet’s infallible knowledge, it looks like this campus could be a ghost town in weeks.

The worst has happened, my friends. Contagion. For realzies.

I know what you’re thinking. “How can we possibly stop it from spreading?? Kate Winslet DIED in Contagion!!!” But not to worry, after collecting extensive data on the ski-team intersession trip (ski invictus!) and spending some time in Whitman North B (shoutout to room 315), I think I may have found the solution. As is the case in most catastrophes, the first step to its resolution is admitting that there’s a problem. Since I think we can all agree that spending an entire night in your dorm’s bathroom with no one to comfort you other than a smug, judgmental toilet is a pretty big problem, I’ll move on to step 2: finding someone to blame.

Actually, that’s it. Steps 1 and 2 pretty much cover the whole thing. But if the BP Oil spill taught us anything, it’s that life’s toughest questions can’t be understood with silly things like “reason” or “logic”. What’s most important here is finding someone to blame so we can all relentlessly berate them, drive them into a crazed, self-destructive seclusion, and continue on with our lives as if nothing happened. With these thoughts in mind, I’ve assembled a comprehensive list of all the scapegoats that I think are most eligible for bearing our collective angst as we strive to make sense of everything in this crazy time.

1) Harvard

The usual scapegoat for most of Princeton’s misfortunes, placing blame on Harvard is a tried and true technique for Princeton students throughout the ages that has helped thousands of confused souls make sense of issues ranging from Forbes Top College Ranking to why our football team can’t seem to figure it out. Classic Harvard-related excuses include “Harvard probably just paid whoever made those lists” to “I mean, I wouldn’t even want to live in Boston anyway.” It doesn’t seem to be too much of a stretch to suppose that maybe Harvard’s Nobel Prize winning labs engineered some kind of strain designed to decimate the population of Princeton in order to stand uncontested as the best school in the country. Nice try, Harvard, but we’re onto you.

2) Wrath of Montezuma

This one’s an interesting scapegoat suggested by the ski team. Montezuma was a ruthless Aztec monarch who was known to rip a person’s heart out “just because”, and the spread of gastro could just be an example of his continuing to be a dick from the grave. I’m not really sure why an ancient Mesoamerican theocrat would want to exact his unholy revenge on Princeton specifically, but then again I don’t understand anything about Aztec culture so I’ll throw it on the list. Classic Montezuma!!

3) Panera

In my research I came across a student who could possibly be our patient zero, so I think this scapegoat is especially legitimate. Apparently this kid went to Panera the night before his OA leader training and felt the effects of his funky Steak Balsamico later that night. Interestingly, all the other patients that were “down with the sickness” at McCosh at that time had also eaten their final meal at Panera. Coincidence? I think not. However, I feel like I could be toeing the line with actual libel by including a major corporation on this list so I’m going to back off…for now.

4) Out-of-Office Plot by Nancy Malkiel

We all knew I’d eventually be going there. But let’s be real, Nancy’s done some pretty irrational things in the past. Who knows, maybe eradicating the entire student body by means of a horrific gastrointestinal disease could prove to be the latest in cutting edge educational techniques! Remembering some of her earlier attacks targeted at student morale and general well being, this one doesn’t seem to be much of a stretch. Plus, maybe all the other Ivies will adopt this policy as well.

5) Card Swipe People

It pains me to include these guys on the list, but I must. Don’t get me wrong; I love the cafeteria card swipers as much as the next guy, but unfortunately I think they may be unwitting transmitters of gastro. Think about it: one infected student hands over his prox (and gastro) to the swiper, the swiper is ok because of his latex glove thing, but the next student comes along and swipes his card and BAM!! That kid is screwed. Especially since he’s probably going to touch his face like a million times throughout the day. Damn you Kate Winslet!

6) Because You Touch Yourself at Night

Hahaha! But seriously let’s move on.

7) 2012

Could gastro be the beginning of the end of the world? Everyone knows that the world is set to explode or something next December, so maybe this disease is just one of many tiny disasters in a crescendo of exponentially more horrible catastrophes that will eventually culminate in the apocalypse. When we take into account Whitney Houston’s death and the fact that the movie Drive didn’t take home a single Oscar, I’m afraid that these future calamites could be far more horrible than any of us could have possibly imagined…*

*Note: It is important to remember that the 2012 myth actually originates from the Mayan culture. Another fun fact about the Mayans is that they also used to play lacrosse with human heads, so I think maybe we should take our ancient Mayan prophecies with a grain salt.

8) The Chinese/Russians/Mexicans/Anyone Who Can Take Our Jobs

I know a lot of people love blaming immigrants for their problems and I didn’t want to exclude those haters from this list. As it turns out, they may actually have a point here. Whenever a foreign people enter into a new country, they bring with them whatever weird foreign camel bacteria with them as well. We all remember how much fun avian bird flu was in ’09 and I think that one came from China. I don’t know if this new disease is some plot by foreigners to take jobs away from good, honest, hard-working Americans, but neither do you. So let’s blame it!

9) Global Warming

Pretty much everything can be blamed on global warming these days so I feel confident about including it here. Maybe gastro was locked in some polar ice cap that melted and traveled all the way to Princeton via rising sea level. Maybe that’ll be the premise for Contagion 2. And they could bring Kate Winslet back to life in that one! I’d probably watch that movie. Also, we should get Al Gore in on this action.

10) Tim Tebow

A few months ago I read a terrifying article by somebody at that suggests that Tim Tebow may actually be the anti-Christ. The argument is basically that when the anti-Christ comes he’s not going to be scary or repulsive, but attractive and likeable. Ever since then I’ve been looking for the newest manifestation of his disguised evil in order to prepare myself for when he unleashes his army of bloodthirsty minions upon us. It very well could be that Tim is still pissed about losing to the Patriots in the playoffs this year so he’s starting his reign of terror by slowly destroying the entire New England area. How can we combat this otherworldly scheme? By recognizing his supposedly “good” deeds as seeds of evil, and blaming him even harder for them.

So there you have it—a foolproof guide to navigating this and other disasters that you may face. And remember something: the beauty of this method is that you don’t have to blame just one person or thing in these situations; you can pick as many as you want! Soon you’ll have an impressive collection of loathsome bugaboos that you can feel proud of, share with your friends, and, of course, lean on when life tries to get you down.