Soup to Nuts

I’d say I’m about a week away from my podcast launch. The process, from soup to nuts, has been pretty seamless from the GoFundMe campaign through until this afternoon when I made a dry run recording. Barring any unforeseen issues, I expect to have Season 1 Episode 1 of the My Zen Brain podcast out and receiving copious praise by this time next week.

However, today, I do not want to comment on the podcast. I want to comment on the phrase “soup to nuts.”

When and where, in the name of all that is decent and holy, did the phrase “soup to nuts” come to mean what it means? How does a phrase that sounds like one of those obscure, gag-inducing sexual acts come to find a place in pleasant conversation?

I first heard the phrase in the movie The Matrix. Morpheus, played by Lawrence Fishburne, has found Neo (Keanu Reeves) and convinced him to take the red pill. I’ll admit, I can certainly see the point of Joe Pantoliano’s character Cipher when he declares that if Morpheus had told him and the other people on board Morpheus’s ship the truth about taking the red pill, they would have told him to stick that red pill up where the sun don’t shine. Instead, Morpheus promises Neo, just like he did the rest of his crew, that should they choose to take the red pill, all he can offer them is “the truth.” In reality what he has persuaded them to do is to wake up in a little pod among millions of other pods containing other people fast asleep and living in the Matrix. Shortly thereafter, their hairless, eyebrow-less, very freakin’ confused and naked body will suddenly become extremely rubbery as all the holes plugging hoses into their bodies (presumably so the Matrix can carry out all the functions sustaining their lives for them, though absolutely no clarification is given for how the pod people breath or eat or poop) dislodge. Meanwhile, the bolt mechanism plugged into their cerebellum that presumably feeds the dream world of The Matrix directly into their brain suddenly unscrews itself and the now-really confused people wake up for the first time in their lives and are flushed, along with all the gunky amniotic fluid they were peacefully sleeping in only moments before. Since the Matrix doesn’t really give a shit about etiquette or ethics since it’s a singular consciousness bent on the total destruction of mankind, it abruptly opens a hatch and the pod person takes a ride down a twisty, turny, curvy waterslide that dumps them into a much bigger pool of amniotic fluid where pod people go to drown. Except Neo doesn’t drown. Instead he is picked up by Morpheus’s ship. Neo is placed on a massage table where the crew of Morpheus’s ship the Nebuchadnezzar hook him up with a marathon acupuncture session and a cup of their gruel.

I don’t know if Morpheus had a hand in the naming of his ship the Nebuchadnezzar but I kind of think that maybe the union guys who built the ship named it before Morpheus got his hands on it. Morpheus’s character is built up to be the most prescient of Zion’s ship captains, so I have a hard time believing he would name his ship after a Babylonian king responsible for the destruction of the Temple of Solomon, who was supposed to be the wisest guy in the Old Testament. And after he destroyed the temple, King Chad went on to go batshit crazy and ate grass with his oxen for 7 years before he snapped out of it. Hardly the stuff 22nd century post-apocalyptic naval vessels are named after.

Back to the Oracle. She tells Neo that nobody can tell him he’s the One and that being the One is like being in love, that nobody tells you that you are in love, you just know it, balls to bones and soup to nuts. It’s interesting that an Oracle that exists entirely within the Matrix would have any kind of cosmic knowledge about whether Neo is the One or not. Morpheus declares that she is very old and has been advising the people of Zion since the beginning of the Resistance to the singular consciousness that subsequently spawned a ton of other machines that are also bent on destroying mankind, though no explanation is given as to what the plan is after the singular consciousness does in fact eradicate all of humanity. Maybe shuffleboard or darts for eternity, although I would think that darts or shuffleboard would probably get real boring real quick for a singular consciousness. Maybe solitaire. Regardless, even using the phrase “soup to nuts” is almost certainly a questionable choice for addressing Neo. She even says herself that he isn’t too bright, so why in the Sam hill is she using a figure of speech that dates back the 1800s when a full 7-16 course meal began with soup and ended with a glass of port, a figure of speech me, a writer, had to look up to ensure that it wasn’t really a gag-inducing sex act before I wrote a blog post about it?

The phrase was used as the title of a 1930 movie starring Ted Healy, Charles Winninger and Frances McCoy, better known by their stage name The Three Stooges. Maybe that’s why Lana and Lilly Wachowski used soup to nuts in their script. I mean, Keanu Reeves is a great actor, but if you subbed out Moe or Larry and put in Neo, the collective brain power of the stooges would actually decrease a little since pretty as he is, Neo isn’t solving any bounded harmonic theories anytime soon (Neither am I since I pulled the term bounded harmonic theories from Good Will Hunting and have no idea what it actually means.)

I should get back to the podcast. I’m sure there’s probably 10 things I’m not even thinking about that I have to get done before launch day.

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