I'm a professor, and of course as part of my academic duties I'm expected to give talks at conferences. This is *honestly* a record of what's happened when I've given a paper: (1) the first paper I ever gave was at a conference where I also caught glandular fever and hepatitis combined (trust me, not fun) (2) the second paper (in the Netherlands) was okay, barring a train breaking down on the way back, causing me to miss my scheduled boat crossing (3) there then followed a four- or five-year period that I now look back on with a nostalgic glow, since nothing much happened beyond giving a paper and returning home unscathed. Then the fun started. Amongst the highlights have been: (4) I gave a talk that was cut short because a woman had an epileptic fit in the audience. (5) I then gave a talk where on the way home after it I was threatened by a psychopath with a knife on a station platform (6) Heading abroad once more, I was giving a talk in Austria when a pneumatic drill came through the wall (the builders unknown to the organisers were scheduled to do some conversion work in the building and had no idea we were there). (7) Then there was the time I gave a talk and went home to discover my house had been burgled. All this culminated in the following incident. I gave a conference talk a couple of weeks ago where I fell ill with a cold and simultaneously found a small lump on my shoulder. Said cold infected small lump, which subsequently grew to an alarming size, resulting in me having to have emergency surgery last weekend for a deep-rooted abscess. I've worked out that following me giving a talk, there is a near-75 per cent chance that something unpleasant on a par with the above events will happen. Am I being paranoid, or does this sort of thing happen to everyone?