For many moons now, we have labored under the anxiety that everything, everywhere is on fire—whether it’s the latent disquiet that comes from watching a vindictive leather desk set come to life and wage total war against facts, dismantle our hard-won civil rights, and destabilize the globe at the behest of the greasy pork sandwich served in a racist ashtray pulling his strings, or simply the complete and total breakdown of human discourse. In a more tangible sense, there was the fact that Samsung’s Galaxy 7 exploded and literally caught fire. But come on. We’re probably just being panicky little snowflakes. Everything is fine. Nothing’s on fire.
Except now our iPhones are on fire? Oh shit. Oh shit, man.
“Dude, what the fuck? Are you fucking serious right now?” asks Brianna Olivas in the above video, which she says her boyfriend filmed as her rose gold iPhone 7 inexplicably began emitting smoke, its protective case smoldering and curling around it, as she looked on confused and frightened, a veritable stand-in for America. After posting it to Twitter, her clip was quickly shared thousands of times, prompting a slew of people to attempt to explain it. Maybe it was Olivas’ liquid-filled iPhone case? Maybe it was just a faulty charger? Maybe this was just an anomaly?
Maybe we are all just living inside a computer simulation designed for the amusement of celestial beings beyond our feeble comprehension, the seemingly cruel whims of our universe actually a rigid, mathematical code designed to create an elaborately ordered world that will then be gleefully destroyed—no different than a bored child smashing his Legos just to see them scatter? Maybe if we all just sit down on the ground right now and refuse to move until they start playing fair, they’ll have to yield and allow us our free will?
But then, by acknowledging the game, do we not hasten its end? Do we not then cease to be?
Oh man. We are fucked. We are so fucked and our phones are on fire.
— Bree✨ (@briannaolivas_) February 23, 2017
Olivas tells Gizmodo she attempted to fight back against the stoic inevitability of a universe specifically designed to see her suffer by bringing her iPhone to the Sprint store, where the employee agreed it “looked weird when it turned on,” but concluded everything was fine. Oh Sprint Store employee! Oh humanity!
She continued to live with this delusion for the night, putting her phone on its Apple charger and choosing to believe that there is inherent good in the world, then going to sleep. Yes, go to sleep! Go back to sleep, Brianna Olivas and you there, reading this. Everything is fine. Your pretty songs and Sprint Stores tell you it will all be okay.
Then you wake up:
I was asleep with my phone charging next to my head, my boyfriend grabbed the phone and put it on the dresser. He went to the restroom … and from the corner of his eye he saw my phone steaming and [heard] a squealing noise. By the time he got over to the phone it had already caught fire, he quickly grabbed the phone and threw it in the restroom … as soon as he threw [it] in the restroom, it blew up and more smoke started coming out of the phone.
A squealing noise? Good lord, we are all so fucked.
As with so many utterly beyond hope, Olivas went to the Apple Store, where she says a so-called “Genius” told her they had “never seen anything like this”—the limits of human intelligence, once so cockily paraded before the gods, now laid bare in a harrowing, humbling instant.
Apple replaced her phone immediately and it now says it’s currently investigating the cause of the malfunction, but let’s be real, any “explanation” would only be a desperate attempt to give name to the chittering madness that now envelops us all, the din of a thousand squealing, shrieking iPhones dying as the flames consume them. We may console ourselves with the belief that, surely, this was all just an isolated incident, probably caused by some freak combination of unusual phone accessories, static charge, and the growing disenfranchisement of the working class. But we’d be deluding ourselves. Our iPhones are lying in wait to blow up in our faces, just like every-fucking-thing else we once foolishly took for granted.
“All of this has been causing me really bad anxiety,” Olivas tells Gizmodo. “It’s not severe, but my anxiety has never been this bad. My mother is involved and right now she’s just worried about making me feel better.”
Yeah. Good luck with that, Brianna’s mom. Good luck to you, dear reader. Good luck to us all.