HowTo:Go off on a tangent

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“ Tangents are great. I prefer tangerines, though.”

~ Oscar Wilde on Tangerines

“To prevent the term 'Political correctness gone mad' offending anyone who may be mad, I came up with 'political correctness gone off on a tangent different to that it was already following'”

~ Callum Ellis Jarvis-Jones

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Going off on a tangent is the process of digressing suddenly from an original course of action and instead pursuing a different one. "Tangent" refers to the actual digression. Ending the tangent is generally done by relating your tangent back to the original topic (see 2. Continuing the Tangent).

This may or may not involve tangerines.

Initiating the Tangent[edit]

this is an orange, which rhymes with very few things.

To begin your tangent, you must first place yourself in a discussion. You can discuss with whomever you want. I always like to talk with my brother Bill. Bill's a good kid to talk to, even though he was always getting into trouble with Mr. LeReau down the street. We'd always throw water balloons at his house until he came out and yelled at us. We didn't know why he was always so angry until we found out about his divorce. It turns out that his wife left him to marry a woman she met in Ireland. Lesbians aside, it was a very sad story, though it remind me that I wanted to visit Ireland. It's one of those places that you always talk about going, but you never go. Also, my fear of leprechauns keeps me away. My sister tells me that leprechauns don't actually exist in Ireland, but I know I can't trust her; she probably got tricked by one while she was over there. I used to mix up leprechauns and lepers all the time. I don't know why; there's not too much that's similar between them. I guess it's because I have a fascination with both Ireland and leprosy. Leprosy isn't too contagious, so I've visited a lot of leper colonies over the years to quench my thirst for knowledge. I visited one in Algeria recently and met a man named G!ndu. He was very friendly, even though he didn't speak too much English. He really loved to play Battleship, though. Sometimes, I thought he was cheating. It would take me forever to hit one of his ships. Then I found out that he stacked them on top of each other, which to me just seems impractical. I had a buddy who was an engineer for the Navy. He'd never stack ships on top of each other. He did a lot of good work, though. Ithink he designed some submarines in case we ever had to engage in submarine warfare ever again. Submarines are another thing that has always fascinated me. I love the idea of freely being able to move underwater. War submarines aren't as cool as the ones at Disney World, though, because they have no windows and the ones at Disney World do. Still, the submarines are far from Disney World's best ride. I prefer Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, or maybe Splash Mountain. On a cold day, I had the luxury of riding Splash Mountain three times in a row. It was very nice, except for the annoying "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah" from the "Song of the South" movie. I remember part of that movie: Br'er Fox was trying to catch Br'er Rabbit, so he set up a tar baby—that's a scarecrow-like thing made out of tar so things get trapped in it and can't get out. A bunch of people nowadays think the term tar baby is racist. I've never heard it used in a racist context, but I guess if I were black and someone called me a tar baby I'd be offended. I don't know what I'd do if I were black, though. It depends on who I would be as a person more than my race. Of course, if you believe in evolution, we're probably all part black, because the first humans probably resided in Africa. Still, it seems racist when you refer to African-Americans as monkeys, since technically we should all be monkeys. Monkeys are pretty smart. Not compared to humans, but still. I don't understand the feces-flinging, but otherwise they seem pretty cultured. Plus, they're known for eating bananas. Did you know that bananas are the world's most popular fruit? It's probably because they can grow in a variety of climates, so they're really cheap, too. I don't really like bananas, though; the texture bothers me. It's too mushy; I tend to like fruits that are a little less mushy, like strawberries. Strawberries are great because they have a great taste AND a great texture. I always like listening to "Strawberry Fields Forever", by the Beatles, when I'm eating strawberries; it really gives me something to reflect on. My English teacher, who is originally from Liverpool, told me he had recently visited Strawberry Fields. Contrary to what the name would lead you to believe, it's actually an orphanage. I was always under the impression that it was perhaps a field, or John Lennon's memorial site. I had no idea it was an orphanage. There's an orphanage out around where I live. They have a pretty big football stadium for the high school. That got me thinking: who goes to an orphanage's football games? There aren't any parents. That must suck. My relationship with my parents has never been too great, but at least they're there, whether I want them to be or not. My mom always seems to get upset over the silliest things. Just the other day at dinner, I was sitting down, and she said to me, "You usually don't sit here," to which I replied, "Oh, sorry, I thought I did." Then she just started yelling, "NO YOU DON'T, NOW GET OUT OF MY SEAT!" It really caught me off guard. I think she may have just been a little testy because her chicken wasn't cooked all the way through. It was probably just a problem with the oven; it's an electric oven, and we're used to having a gas oven. It's a different cooking experience. Twice, my mom has left the stove burner on for hours after she was done using the stove, just because it's harder to notice than on a gas stove. One of the times, she had just baked an apple pie for thanksgiving and put it on the stove to cool. Well, the glass heated up enough that the pie just sort of exploded. I thought it was pretty awesome, as are most exploding things. It seems like explosions really sell well in Hollywood. All the movies I've gone to lately have had huge explosions in them. I'm pretty happy, though, since I like explosions. Most older movies don't tend to have explosions, though. The older movies go for action in dialogue. I like that, too, since it gives the story a little more depth and the characters get more developed. Even before movies, that's how it was done in plays. All of William Shakespeare's plays have great character development, and they're always full of puns, too. I had to write a paper on a William Shakespeare play for a World Literature class. I wrote it on "The Merchant of Venice", which is basically about this Jewish accountant trying to kill this one guy. I thought it was pretty good. All of the critics say it's racist, but I don't think it is; I think Shylock (the Jewish accountant) is just a villainous character, and his race is just a trait, like a beard. One of my friends grew a beard once, and it looked weird. I told him that, and he just smiled back at me. I asked him why he was smiling and he just said, "You said 'don't grow a beard. It looks weird.' " "Yeah," I said. "So?" "So it rhymes," he said back. "I like things that rhyme. I was reading this poem in English class by some guy who rhymed. I tend to like poetry, especially poetry about nature. I think nature's really cool. It's often unappreciated, especially nowadays, with all the fuss over the environment. Now, I'm not trying to be a tree hugger or anything, but I think we should at least make an effort to save some rabbits. Actually, I guess the rabbits don't need too much saving, because they reproduce so fast. You know, that's where the symbol of the Easter Bunny came from. Easter was originally a celebration of the fertility of the earth, which is why it happened in the spring. Eggs and rabbits were both symbols of fertility, which is why they were associated with Easter. I don't like Easter much, though. It's one of my least favorite Christian holidays. Of course, I like Christmas, just like any other person, but it just seems like—" "Whoa! Slow down there, buddy," I said. "You went off on a tangent there."

Continuing the Tangent[edit]

are you still reading this?

I don't blame him. He goes off tangents a lot. So do I, though. Speaking of which, I guess I'm going off on a tangent right now. That's sort of ironic. There's a girl in my class who seems to think everything is ironic. Man, is she dumb. I don't tell her that, though. I think it's funny whenever she says "isn't it ironic that [something that isn't ironic]?" It always reminds me of that Alanis Morissette song: Ironic. You know, it's the one that goes, "IT'S LIKE RAY-EE-ANE ON YOUR WEDDING DAY", and I always think, "wait, why is rain on your wedding day ironic? I don't understand that at all." It's another one of the reasons Alanis Morissette bothers me. For female vocalists of the same "genre", I'd rather listen to Shawn Colvin. She's the one with the big hit about Sonny coming home. She also lives next door to my uncle. It's weird how many famous people live next door to my uncle (well, two). On his other side is Olympic gold medalist Johnny Moseley. He was a real hot-shot skier back during the Nagano Olympics in '98. I was still young then, and I'd always get into trouble. My teachers seemed to have it out for me for no reason, though. Once, I was actually sent to the principal's office for sneezing! I swear. We were about to watch a video, I sneezed, and my teacher told me to go to the principal's office! I couldn't believe it. I'd been sent to the principal's office for worse things than that. Of course, it's not as bad as when someone stole my Pokemon cards. I punched him in the face and he punched back, which I did not anticipate. We both wound up in the principal's office, but I got my Pokemon cards back, so it's all good. I had some pretty rare ones, like a first edition holographic Charizard. I think I checked on eBay and they were going for at least $200 each. It's a good way to make some money, eBay. Someone I know actually sold six ordinary pennies on eBay for $60. Maybe they were less ordinary than I thought, though. I mean, coin collectors look for some pretty weird things. I never collected coins, though I did collect stamps, for whatever reason. I think it was because I saw an ad for a stamp-collecting club endorsed by Bugs Bunny, so since I liked Bugs Bunny but didn't really care about the stamps I signed up for the club. Bugs Bunny was pretty cool, though. He was very influential in my childhood. I liked watching all the Looney Tunes, but I really loved the ones with a lot of classical music, like "What's Opera, Doc?" and "The Rabbit of Seville". That was a great one, especially with all the Barber of Seville lyrics rewritten. It was those cartoons that really got me interested in opera music. I liked operas for a while. I still do, actually. I just went to one the other day, and it was excellent. Music overall is a pretty big part of my life, though. Actually, for a project in trigonometry, I studied music and frequencies and how the cycles are measured: it did use trigonometry. Volume was dependent on amplitude, and the differences in period accounted for different notes. Overall, it kind of looked like a sine curve. Sine and cosine are the only ones that really look like curves. Tangent looks kind of goofy. Speaking of tangents, I go off on them a lot. For information on making your own tangents, see this article).