The Wild Tangent: An Owners Guide
So, you want to take on the challenge of caring for a Wild Tangent. The Tangent is a curious creature, with a rambunctious personality coupled with a tendency to run wild and spew ideas around like noxious candy. It takes a strong personality to tame a Wild Tangent, but once tamed, it can be a loving and loyal friend and lifelong companion.
The first issue we must deal with is preparing your Tangent’s space. The Tangent requires a large area in which to ramble, roam, and just generally move around. It is best to keep it contained, however, as most people dislike or are annoyed by the Tangent, tamed or otherwise. The space should also contain a place for the Tangent to “do his duty” as it were. Newspaper should be utilized, as like attracts like, and the paper will have the scent of other Tangents on it. If your Tangent continues to drop words and even sentences around its yard, you may need to utilize the newspaper in the other time-honored fashion.
The second issue, and a major one, is how and what to feed your Tangent. If not fed correctly and allowed to digest, it tends to spew up all sorts of nonsense and ridiculous notions and then go off and sulk, leaving you to clean up after it. It is best to feed it once a day, usually a measured portion of wiki mixed with a dash of scopes and a bare sprinkle of blog. It may take as much as a day for the Tangent to digest, so don’t be alarmed if it seems sleepy for a while and curls up in a corner to think.
Exercising your Tangent
Exercising your Tangent can be a challenging but rewarding time. The best time is in the middle of the night, when fewer people are awake to be annoyed by its whining and barking. The best strategy is to find a forum (not in its formal/modern usage) that suits both you and your Tangent. You will know if it suits it by the eager way it sniffs at it, and pants to get going and run. Below I have listed a few “exercises” that worked for me.
1) The round-and-round
This one is for beginners, as it’s the easiest. The Tangent is already inclined in this direction, so all you have to do is control the scope and distance. Loose your Tangent, slightly, so there is slack to the leash, then just let it run. It will automatically go in a circular pattern, backwards and forward, moving from conclusion to conclusion, sometimes contradicting itself and getting tangled in the leash. Your job is to keep it semi-contained, untangle it when it trips, and gently lead it in a safe ending direction.
2) The ramble
Like the round-and-round, this one is easy, but due to the length and breadth of the work, there is always the element of burnout to consider. Again, unleash the Tangent, giving it plenty of slack, and let it move where it wishes. When it begins to move in a circular fashion, gently lead it away and keep it to a long, loping pace. When exhaustion sets in, simply allow the Tangent to rest, and reward it with a bite of wiki from your pocket.
3) The rant
This exercise is for the advanced Tangent owner only. Use extreme caution in locating a space to perform the rant, as it may grow uncontrollably given enough area. The rant begins with the Tangent being allowed to pull to the end of the leash, which is held -tightly- by the owner as they stand well back out of range. The Tangent will immediately take full advantage of the perceived freedom, and will begin to dig, whine, claw and bite at anything within reach. As owner, you are ultimately responsible for the actions and reactions of your Tangent, and must watch diligently for signs of over-reaction and explosive opportunities. If such occur, immediately reel in the leash and allow the Tangent to rest and recover. If necessary, it may be sent back in again, but usually once is enough to calm it down for a while.
So you see, with time, patience, and a lot of work, a Wild Tangent can become a loyal and loving pet. It will provide hours and hours of entertainment as you watch its antics and chuckle quietly to yourself at the effect it has on others. So enjoy…be happy…just please keep it away from me.
As the owner and semi-trainer of several generations of WT’s, I was honored to be asked by Madison to be a guest writer. I am somewhat of an expert on the subject, having been addicted to writing for as long as there were keyboards available…typewriter to word processor to word processor with a -screen- (zomg!) to actual (sort of) computers. Hooray for floppy disks that weren’t and hard drives the size of a record album. Remember those? Records, not prehistoric hard drives…talk about uphill both ways barefoot in the snow! Want to listen to a song over again? Pick up the needle and gently place it dow…screeeech…fudge! Want to listen to the whole record over again? They have special fancy players for that…just watch as the needle hits the little thingie in the middle and sloooowly lifts and sloooowly moves back across the record, to restart the first song…usually with a…
Whoops. See what I mean about semi-trained? I wish you more luck than I’ve had taming your Wild Tangents, and hope to hear all your success stories…if you can keep the Tangent off of them.
For reals bio…sort of.
I’m a 40-mumble yr. old going on 6, a poet, writer, reader, word tinkerer/creator, and all around general knowledge-w***e. I’ve had a love affair with words since I started reading at 2-ish, puzzling my way through my mom’s collection of Shakespeare, Roald Dahl (kid stuff -and- adult), O’henry, Twain, etc. at 6, and getting -extremely- frustrated at 7 because the librarian at school wouldn’t let me go in the “big kids section”…so I had to go and get my Mccaffrey and Norton and King and…etc. at the city library, where all I had to do was prove that I could read and comprehend what I read, and promise to take the proper care of the books. Which was like telling a museum to take proper care of their exhibits. If anyone even -sneezed- in the direction of one of my books, they got a -very- stern glare, coupled with a lecture, depending on age, temper, and parental or otherwise status. So now words and I have an “It’s complicated” sort of relationship, as this is my first go at actually making the durn things get up off the couch and get a job, and they’re not sure they like the idea yet. But we’re working on it, baby steps at a time, and hopefully some day you’ll see my name at the bottom of the bargain bin in the dollar store…2 for $1!!
Kyot won’t be able to respond to comments for a little while yet – check her blog post here:
for more explanation. (And if you’re reading this Kyot don’t worry about your tangents over here, we’ve got them sorta under control…)