But, that's how the bullfrog got into the bakery, which caused the baker's wife to proclaim, ``My word, but you're all slimy and it's not even lunch-time!'' which was, as I mentioned earlier, subsequently repeated to her pastor who proceeded to turf her out of the church, which lead to her becoming a jazz singer instead of merely a baker's wife, which ties in to my original point exactly how... ?
Right. Tangents. Y'know, those thirty minute monologues about feudalism in Europe, which, by a long series of logical leaps, ties in very nicely with Elvis Presley and the birth of Rock n' Roll.
Which reminds me of a funny story... I'm sitting there in my CS lecture, trying really, really hard to not pay attention, yet not fall asleep, when the prof suddenly comes out with a ``thang you veramush''.
``Huh?'' thinks I. Very peculiar. There were two possible explanations for this odd occurrence: (i) I had nodded off, and filled in the line; or (ii) my prof was Elvis. Now, I didn't recall my head hitting the table, and there wasn't an abnormal amount of drool on my notes, so that kind of ruled out my being asleep at the time.
``But how,'' cries Average Reader, ``does this relate in any fashion to the topic that was being discussed at the beginning of the article?''
You know, I've been trying to figure that out for myself. It doesn't, does it? It must have been a tangent. Y'see? I go off rambling for half a page on a totally unrelated topic in every other column I've written and you don't complain, but the first time I set out to discuss this practice you jump down my throat!
You remind me of my Uncle Bob. He was always tearing into me for rambling on and on and getting waaaaay off topic and I always hated him for it. Well, that and this really weird habit he had of unravelling his sweaters and feeding them to the cat. Yah, that cat would be in the litter box for hours trying to pass three pounds of multicoloured acrylic fibres, and why? Because Uncle Bob just wouldn't listen to me when I told him that a cat's digestive fluids just weren't strong enough to break down synthetic fibres. If he'd fed the thing natural fibres, like everyone else in the family, then...
I did it again, didn't I? See, that's the sinister part about tangential ramblings. They kinda sneak up on you. Slow, and steady. Real casual-like, until --BAM-- you're off in the tundra of the Northwest Territories with a pack of wolves hunting caribou.
But the really pressing question is, will the tangent appear on the midterm? Now, obviously I'm not talking about the Post-Teen Angst midterm... wouldn't that be cool, though?
``Hi! I'm Professor Milligan, and this is PTA350: Armpit Hair Paperweights, Cereal, and Differential Equations. We'll pick up where we left off in the last lecture, where I was giving the proof of the Milligan Kawphy Theorem. So we've proven the ``if you drink sixteen ounces of coffee at 8:30 then you'll have to pee by 9:30'' direction. Now we've got to do the tricky part -- the ``if you pee at 9:30 then you have had sixteen ounces of coffee at 8:30'' direction. Looking back to your first year calculus, you can see...
Oooops. Sorry. Gosh, I'm just trying to remember where I was going with this and am failing miserably. Perhaps I'll just stop babbling on so, and let you folks get on with your lives. And yes, mathies do have lives. Why, just the other day my buddy was tellin' me, ``Y'know, mathies do have lives. Or at least some of 'em do.''
And I had to agree with him, for he spake the truth. ``Verily, Jeb, I do agreeth with ye. Forsooth! Looketh ye at the tyme! Thy woman shall have thine head -- aye, and mine, too -- lest we sally forth. Hie! Hie, I say!''
Oh yah. Tangents. Right. I just can't seem to get very far on this topic, can I? Always going off into the middle of nowhere. I think that might actually have been the point, but I'm not sure anymore. Better just stop now, while I'm ahead.
Ian ``Son of God Complex'' Milligan
© 1996 mathNEWS