by Randall Allen Dunn
Nicki and I just started watching the remastered editions of the original “Star Trek” series. (Which, by the way, is the only way to watch them anymore, where the special effects are updated and the planets look like planets, so that it’s no longer embarrassing to watch the original shows without having to keep explaining that those were the best special effects they could do on television in the 1960’s.)
Still, I felt a little embarrassed about watching the episode, “Mudd’s Women”, with my wife, about three sexy women who are brought aboard the starship and give all the male crew members fits. Seeing the episode title, Nicki said, “‘Mudd’s Women’? Like, are they wrestling or something?”
I instantly felt more comfortable, realizing how much worse the episode could have been. “I never even considered that,” I said. “I don’t know if anyone ever has.”
In the episode, Captain James Kirk (William Shatner) rescues a reckless space traveler, Harry Mudd, from crashing his own fleeing spaceship. Along with Mudd, they transport three deliriously beautiful women, whom Mudd describes as his “cargo”. He’s in the business of finding wives for men isolated on distant colonies – the future’s version of “mail-order brides” for the galactic frontier. In that fashion, the women are not slaves, but willing volunteers who are in an equally bad position, having no men left on their own planets.
What Mudd isn’t telling anyone is that these gorgeous women are gorgeous because of the illegal Venus drug, which transforms their ordinary features into those of goddesses. When they find prospective husbands among some dilithium crystal miners, the men are eager to seal the marriage deal. But when one of them discovers that his wife, Evie, is plain-looking without the drug, he feels cheated.
Kirk allows Evie to take the Venus drug again, transforming herself into a desirable woman once more. She only wants to show her new husband how meaningless it is to pursue a beautiful, vapid woman instead of a wife – someone who can be a friend and partner to him. Despite his rude reception of her, she’s already cooked him a good meal and advised him how to sand-blast his pans clean on his wasteland planet. She’s shown him how she can help him – as a wife. Not as a fantasy lover.
But Kirk reveals that the Venus drug Evie took was just colored gelatin. Evie became beautiful because she chose to see herself that way, instead of seeing herself as ordinary and plain-looking.
A marriage involves both.
My wife and I recently were blessed by our church with an overnight stay at a hotel, along with a gift card for a restaurant dinner. It was their way of saying thank you to Nicki, for all her work in heading up our children’s ministry this past year. Their only stipulation was that we not bring our kids, because they wanted us to have time alone to relax.
We weren’t sure what to do with that. I know many couples would love to get away from their kids, but we’ve never been that way. In fact, we haven’t had an overnight stay without kids anywhere since Abby was born, over five years ago. And anyone with kids knows that it takes extra time and money to hire a sitter and make plans for all of that alone time.
But once we had arranged for a sitter to stay the night and headed for our hotel, we soon discovered how much we needed the time away. It’s not as though our marriage was suffering. In fact, we have at least as much fun as most couples, and we rarely have arguments. When we do, they usually get resolved within a matter of minutes.
But after spending time by ourselves, I realized that we normally operate in “work mode”, figuring out how to manage chores of laundry, dishes, and kids, along with other activities of writing and church ministry. We have a great time together doing it, but it always involves work, even when we’re “relaxing” with the kids. It was rare to have an evening out, with no responsibilities. We didn’t know how much we needed that until we had it.
In a marriage, people need to know how to work together. To support one another as partners, co-workers, and best friends.
They also need to know how to let their hair down. To not view their marriage as a business relationship or a drudgery, but as the best relationship that one person can have with another. Something to be treasured and celebrated, in fun getaways, quiet moments, and intimate care for the one they love.
Nicki was surprised to find that she liked the “Mudd’s Women” episode. I’m sure she was relieved that it had nothing to do with mud wrestling.
I’m relieved to know that my marriage is real. Not something I have to endure, in order to help get things done. Nor is it merely a fantasy relationship, that looks sexy and exciting on the surface but lacks any real trust or commitment. Our marriage is fun and adventurous, as well as being practical and supportive. In short, we’re in love.
And we don’t need a Venus drug to stay that way.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Find more reviews of “Star Trek Season 1” at amazon.com!
Wednesday, February 1st, 2012