By Claire Liddle

BURLING – Grinnellians affected by the common cold going around campus were shocked to discover it is actually a form of infectious protein disease known as a prion. 

The prion, officially named “GRION-21” and lovingly dubbed “Grinnell College Brain Worms” is thought to have originated in the Burling printers and is transmitted by contact with printer paper. “We think it developed while students were off campus over winter break” says a SHAW representative, “but we don’t know for sure. Those printers are weird and they probably have some nefarious motivation, especially the Burling ones, but the dorm printers are evil too. All we know is that the printers are 100% definitely giving people brain worms.” 

While all printers have been disinfected since the prion was discovered, SHAW still urges caution: “Treat the printers nicely, and no matter what you do, never sniff the paper you just printed. Don’t pull down your mask to smell that sweet, sweet ink. We know you want to take a whiff of that long research paper you just finished writing, but that urge is the brain worms talking.” 

The current known symptoms of GRION-21 are as follows: being incredibly sexy, having perfect hair, and jaundice.

SHAW urges students to watch for symptoms in themselves and their friends. The current known symptoms of GRION-21 are as follows: being incredibly sexy, having perfect hair, and jaundice. An anonymous student reported a friend’s symptoms: “We were sitting at an amoeba table, and I saw them go get something from the printer. When they came back, boom. They were the most beautiful person I have ever seen in my entire life. Their hair was flowing, shining brighter than the foil-embossed spines of the books. Sure, they had the worst case of jaundice I’ve ever seen, like worse than the jaundice makeup on Grey’s Anatomy, but I’ve never wanted to use a printer so bad, I swear. I was so desperate to use the Burling printers that I printed out a syllabus.” When asked if the student knew of the prion, he responded, “What?”

The CDC has not provided guidance on GRION-21 yet, but they have been notified. In a phone call, a College representative described the prion, its spread so far, and the symptoms, to which a CDC official replied with a long silence, followed by “Not again.” The CDC official then put the phone on speaker and said to the entire office, “Guys, a new prion just showed up on some college campus in Iowa,” and received a chorus of groans and a distinct “Are you kidding me?” 

Since GRION-21 is localized to the Grinnell College campus, no clinical trials for treatments or cures have yet been established. SHAW states that any rumors that ivermectin, a horse dewormer, are a cure for the prion are false and should be ignored. When asked for comment, the SHAW representative stated, “If you’re tempted to try ivermectin, that’s probably the brain worms talking. Or the internet. Please stop listening to Joe Rogan.” 

There is no known cure for GRION-21, but a temporary lab has been set up in Noyce Science Center. At the time of writing, there is no funding and therefore no staff, save for one third-year who “just likes prions. Did you know that they literally eat holes in your brain?” The lab is empty except for one printer, which SHAW claims “isn’t supposed to be there.” As of writing, no deaths have been reported from GRION-21, and as such Grinnell administration is primarily focused on COVID prevention measures.