This is a post suggestion that I really wish I’d have checked out a bit earlier in the day to give myself time to think about it. I’m not good at telling stories despite the fact that, as a child, I harboured ambitions to write a comic book. I had a set of characters – they were cats. The leader was called Spike, and was kinda like Sonic the Hedgehog. There was one called Scar, who wore a hat and was similar to Indiana Jones, and he had a scar down his left cheek. There was Titch, who was pretty small. I’m also convinced there were at least two more. One called Patch rings a bell.
Unfortunately I’ve been trying to remember conversations I’ve overheard and can’t. So I thought about making up one up but everything I can think of is a cliche that wouldn’t look out of place in a movie, but not written half as well. Then I thought I could write a conversation I would like to have but change the names of the characters, but I think I’ll find that depressing.
So I thought I’d post the best bit of televised dialogue I could remember. Thanks to Neal Whitman at Slate.com for saving me the transcription of The Big Bang Theory…
Howard: Something doesn’t make sense. Look. In 2015 Biff steals the Sports Almanac and takes the time machine back to 1955 to give it to his younger self. But as soon as he does that he changes the future, so the 2015 he returns to would be a different 2015. Not the 2015 that Marty and Doc were in.
Leonard: This is Hot Tub Time Machine all over again. Look. If future Biff goes back to 2015 right after he gives young Biff the Almanac, he could get back to the 2015 with Marty and Doc in it. Because it wasn’t until his 21st birthday that 1955 Biff placed his first bet.
Sheldon: But whoa, whoa. Is placed right?
Leonard: What do you mean?
Sheldon: Is placed the right tense for something that would’ve happened in the future of a past that was affected by something from the future?
Leonard: [thinks] Had will have placed?
Sheldon: That’s my boy.
Leonard: OK. So, it wasn’t until his 21st birthday that Biff had will have placed his first bet and made his millions. That’s when he alters the timeline.
Sheldon: But he had will haven’t placed it.
Sheldon: Unlike Hot Tub Time Machine, this couldn’t be more simple. [laugh track] When Biff gets the Almanac in 1955, the alternate future he creates isn’t the one in which Marty and Doc Brown ever used the time machine to travel to 2015. Therefore, in the new timeline, Marty and Doc never brought the time machine.
Leonard: Wait, wait, wait. Is brought right?
Sheldon: [thinks] Marty and Doc never had have had brought?
Leonard: I don’t know, you did it to me.
Sheldon: I’m going with it. Marty and Doc never had have had brought the time machine to 2015. That means 2015 Biff could also not had have had brought the Almanac to 1955 Biff. Therefore, the timeline in which 1955 Biff gets the Almanac is also the timeline in which 1955 Biff never gets the Almanac and not just never gets: never have, never hasn’t, never had have hasn’t.
Raj: He’s right.
And because I always try to end with a semi-appropriate lyrics quote:
Do you have the time
To listen to me whine
About nothing and everything
All at once?
I am one of those
Neurotic to the bone
No doubt about it.
Basket Case by Green Day