The Bulk Beings are Closing the Tesseract
Required Language for Modern Discourse, part A.
A while back, on one those frigid evenings when the fire barely keeps your fingertips from freezing, Lukas had me sit down and watch one of his favorite movies. He hadn’t seen it in such a long time that he had forgotten many parts, and since he’s young anyway and he could have been an early teen when he saw it last, I’ll forgive him for putting this flick in his top five. You see a movie when you’re 11; you love it; then for years you hold to this idea that it was a good movie, not just an enjoyable movie for a skinny-armed, suburban 11-year old who needed a couple of spoonfuls of sugar to sweeten his Frosted Flakes. I saw a Happy Days rerun the other day and had this thought. My brother said he had the same feeling about Star Wars.
“You mean the more modern ones?”
-No, I’m talking about the original series, especially the first one. Total crap.”
See, I bet half of you are thinking, “Star Wars is crap? My Star Wars? Princess Lea was crap? Chewbacca too? Nonsense!” Well, you can keep your illusions, or watch it again and see if my bro is right.
I’m not going to bother looking up the name of that hopefully-forgettable movie I watched with Luke. Suffice to say it was a sci-fi action adventure where honest, hard-working, ‘murican prairie folk are caught up in a freak situation and the hero has to jet off to space and go through a time warp in order to save the earth, and maybe the whole universe or something. The only actor I recognized was that hollow-cheeked dude who can do a pretty decent Texas drawl if he has to. Apparently he’s going to take over as lead man in Yellowstone. That will be an improvement but he’ll still have to deal with the boring plots and writing in Yellowstone, a series in which I’ve been unable to sit through a single episode, after a couple tries. I’ll try again after I recover from my latest dose of Kevin Costner, just to be culturally literate and aware of what’s going on on the set just down the road from me. Some of my friends here don’t like Yellowstone because of the foul language and off-color content. I’m with them on that but I would add I think it’s just plain bad filmmaking. The Sopranos was rated R, but was amazingly good.
But wait, I remember another actor in the movie. I think that English actor who appears in 48.3% of all movies… what’s his name? (I found him in a search: Who’s that English actor that’s been in so many movies? The first hit wasn’t even a list, but the single Wikipedia entry of the guy I was thinking of.) Ah yes, Michael Caine plays the unexpected villain. An Englishman as the villain in a Hollyweird movie? Who would have thought?
The reason I bring up this movie is because there is a scene which makes the whole thing almost worth watching, just for the laughs. I’m probably off a bit here- the movie was long and I dozed off a number of times- but in this scene the hero, call him Caleb, was careening down back to earth and he’s in radio contact with the heroine, call her Mollie, who is trying to give him instructions on how to navigate some maze he’s floating in, which looks like the inside of a building-sized Cray-1 computer. There’s lots of lights flashing, jiggling cameras for earthquake effect, concerned faces, loud booms and music, etc. At one point the music reaches a crescendo and Mollie says, “Caleb! Wait. Oh Caleb! It’s happening!”
-What’s happening? What’s going on?
“The Bulk Beings are Closing the Tesseract!”
“Lukas. Stop the movie,” I said.
Lukas hit pause and I asked, “What did she just say?”
“About the Bulk Beings?”
-Yeah, what did she say?
-I think she said, ‘The Bulk Beings are,’ what was it? ‘destroying the Tesseract.’ No wait, was it ‘removing’? Or maybe ‘closing’. I can’t remember.
I had a laugh and told Luke to replay the scene. When I heard it again and saw the look on the heroes’ faces, I busted a gut. Lukas laughed a little himself and I asked, “What the heck is a tesseract?”
“Uhm. It’s sort of what he has to go through, or use, in order to get back to his daughter and warn her about stuff.”
-Ha. Why don’t they just say “the time hole, or worm hole it is? ‘The worm hole is closing.’?”
-Because the Tesseract is not the worm hole. They’ve already been through that. The Tesseract is a four-dimensional cube.
-They’re closing the cube?
-Yeah, I guess so.
-Ha. OK. Who are the Bulk Beings?
-I don’t know.
-It all sounds like a bunch of filler words for a screenwriter who has run out of fresh ideas. It’s just gobblydeegook.
-No, I’m pretty sure it all means something.
-Now wait a minute, Lukas. You’ve been awake here the whole time. You’ve seen this movie a bunch of times. It’s one of your favorite movies. Here is the climactic scene, and you can’t tell me who the Bulk Beings are?
Lukas laughed and said, “Yeah, I guess I don’t know who they are.”
I had another good laugh and said to Luke, “Well, we’ve identified the jump-the-shark moment in this movie.” Then I had to explain to young Herr Lukas what that meant.
Since then, this goofy combination of nonsense words has become a catch phrase in our lexicon. Yesterday we were finishing up the cleaning of a pond. The last job is to skim the surface with this long, floaty, sponge-boom contraption by dragging it across the entire pond, a man holding on to either end of the float. All the surface weeds get trapped and dragged to shore. At the end you come together in a corner of the pond and pull in the boom, reducing the trapped area to a small pool where you can scoop out the weeds, flotsam and other green gloop.
I said, “Luke. Be careful. Keep it low. See that duck weed escaping around the side?”
“Oh, OK,” said Luke. “Wow, here’s another dead fish…Hey, that one is alive.”
-Yeah. I just saw another swimming around.
“What do you think they’re thinking as we pull them in with this thing?” asked Luke.
-I know exactly what they’re thinking.
-The Bulk Beings are Closing the Tesseract!
Such is pond-cleaner humor.
In part B I’ll put on my linguist hat and discuss inside language. And I’ll introduce some good working-class neologisms.
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Ah. I remember now. Matthew McConna-however it’s spelled. That’s the hero.