Arrh, matey! It's a pirate fills this one's dreams

By Minx McCloud

A long time ago, I used to fantasize about pirates. I thought they were very sexy.

Whether it was Cyril Ritchard as the evil Captain Hook, Errol Flynn as the noble Captain Blood, or even Gene Kelly posing as a plunderer in "The Pirate," they filled the daydreams of my college years with a yearning for the sea and visions of a lusty swashbuckler kidnapping me to help him search for buried treasure.

Then I met my husband. He's a shy, quiet man, so I'm not sure what it was that initially made me notice him at all. I often think it may have been his mane of long blond-red hair and his full coppery beard, which I had only previously seen on motorcycle gang members, a few apostles and saints, and -- yup, pirates.

He also had a role in the college production of "Pirates of Penzance," and I'm positive he made it through the audition more because of his hair and beard than his acting ability.

Although he eventually cut his hair in order to get a corporate position, he kept the beard, which is now trimmed regularly. He has only wanted to shave it off once during our marriage, and I howled so long and loud over that, he never mentioned it again.

Unfortunately for Jim, he has no chin, and the pictures I have seen of him without a beard remind me of a bewildered turtle wearing spectacles. Also, the beardless Jim so closely resembles my mother-in-law, that should he ever shave, our love life (such that it is) would be ruined forever.

However, even though he had some passing resemblance to a pirate in his youth, the fantasy ended there. One can no more imagine Jim yelling, "Avast, ye scurvy dogs" or "Set the sails, men, we're sailing for buried treasure," than they can imagine him breaking into Fort Knox and stealing the gold.

In my fevered fantasy, I glued back Long John Silver's missing leg, took about 10 years off his age, and made him the swashbuckling pirate of my college days. The next day, I went in search of my very own copy of "Muppet Treasure Island."
But that's OK, because I'm a mature married woman now and those romantic, adventurous daydreams are in the past, right?

Wrong. I don't know if it's the hormone therapy I'm on, or simply the fact that I'm going through some weird menopausal mid-life crisis, but the fantasies are back.

Recently, ABC-TV aired "Muppet Treasure Island," and there was Tim Curry, an actor I've always liked, playing a seedy, villainous, but somehow charming Long John Silver. I was fascinated.

All the elements were there -- the leather doublet, the billowing shirtsleeves, the bandanna around the neck, and the "pirate talk." ("Where's the bloody treasure?" Long John Silver yelled at the cowering heroine, who happened to be Miss Piggy, but I blocked her out.)

In my fevered fantasy, I glued back Long John Silver's missing leg, took about 10 years off his age, and made him the swashbuckling pirate of my college days. The next day, I went in search of my very own copy of "Muppet Treasure Island."

I went to eight stores, and all of them were out of stock. The clerks in these stores must still be puzzling over the frantic fat lady who searched the shelves doggedly for a copy of "Muppet Treasure Island." They must think I'm the grandmother of a particularly demanding child, judging from my frustration at not being able to find the movie.

Finally, convinced that the tape was nowhere to be found, I rented it. I needed a fix. I played it so many times that week that I practically wore it out. Instead of doing my usual Tai Chi exercises at the end of the workday, I was watching Tim Curry cavort as Long John Silver, fast-forwarding my way through various Muppet shenanigans. As dinnertime approached, I would tear myself away from Tim to make a hasty dinner for Jim.

When I finally took the tape back, I puzzled the video store clerk by hysterically demanding that he buy a new copy because the part where Long John Silver laughed evilly (sexily, I thought) had a glitch in it.

Two days later, I rented it again.

"Boy, your kid must love this movie," the clerk said to me.

"Uh yeah," I said guiltily. "Well, you know, Muppets, I mean sure. Everyone loves the Muppets. They're so, um, lovable."

I sounded like a blithering idiot.

I don't even want to tell you my husband's reaction when he found out I'd rented the movie again.

"What is it with you and that movie?" he asked. I don't think it ever occurred to him that his devoted wife of 24 years was spending a couple of hours a day on the bounding main with Long John Silver and a host of cutthroats.

"I like the music," I said with a shrug.

Let me tell you, hormones or not, it's very disconcerting to have fantasies about a Muppet movie. Actually though, the Muppets don't make it into the fantasy. It's just the pirates, a buried treasure, and me.

Every day, the plotline becomes more detailed. If I could change the names and get it all down on paper, maybe I could make some money off it. I've never read a romance/adventure novel in my life, but I think I now understand their appeal.

So there's my confession. Tim Curry in pirate garb is my guilty pleasure.

I guess it could be worse. I've promised myself that if I start fantasizing about being romanced by Kermit the Frog, I'll definitely seek professional help.

Minx McCloud is a free-lance journalist who writes about life in New Jersey. She can be reached at To see her most recent column, click here.

This article is copyright 2001 by Minx McCloud and appears here with permission.