Student Interrupts Professor’s Tangential Story with Semi-Related, Even More Tangential Story

Written by Jeremiah Budin on September 26th, 2008

SARATOGA SPRINGS—A new precedent was set today in tangential story-telling, when a History Professor’s boring, off-topic tale of a time he got lost in a Circuit City was interrupted by a student’s even more boring tale, which also had something to do with Circuit City.

“Professor Dougal was talking about the fall of the Roman Empire and said something about the Roman Empire getting too big, and then he made a joke about how if the Emperor tried to find his way around it, he would have gotten lost,” said senior Danielle Gomez.  “Then all of a sudden, he got this wry smile on his face and just launched into this whole story about one time when he was eight and he got lost in a Circuit City.”

Although it has been reported that Professor Dougal does this sort of thing two or three times per class meeting, what happened next was truly extraordinary.

“Then this girl who sits behind me raises her hand,” Gomez said.  “I thought she was going to say something to get us back on track, but instead she started telling a story about a time she saw two men fighting over a shopping cart outside of a Circuit City in her home town.  It was crazy!”

The student, Mary Ann Fitzgibbons, continued to tell her story, with absolutely no semblance of a beginning, middle, or end, for four and a half minutes, at one point even going so far as to spin off into yet another tangent, a previously unprecedented meta-tangential tangent.

“I have absolutely no idea where she was going with that story,” Gomez said.  “It involved two of her friends that nobody in the class knew, a detailed description of the layout of the shopping center in which the Circuit City was located—it was all over the place.  She even had something about her sixth grade birthday party in there.”

When Fitzgibbons finished her story, the class was stunned.  Even Professor Dougal, a supposed Tangential Grand Master, seemed to be shaken and confused.

“By the time that girl finished her story, nobody had any idea what was going on,” Gomez said.  “Professor Dougal was so befuddled that he forgot what subject he was supposed to teach and finished the lesson by lecturing on the mating habits of clownfish.”

Although the record of a bilateral triple-tangent is surely an impressive one, English Professor Gary Kauffman has already announced plans to attempt a new record sometime next week, with the help of two students and an eighty-year-old Saratoga resident who is taking his class.

“I’m pretty confident that we can do it,” Kauffman said.  “I’m planning on starting off with something about my dog, or maybe my kids, or maybe how my dog interacts with my kids—I don’t really know yet.  With Gertrude on our team, there’s no telling how far we can go.  It should be something really special.”


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