The life lessons of Murray the skull

My love affair with Monkey Island started when my parents gifted me an Amiga 500 for Christmas when I was nine-years old. My dad asked me what I wanted to try first and one game caught my eye: a box with a mysterious skull in the centre, surrounded by a ghostly ship, fierce-looking pirates and a young swashbuckling hero.

We’d never heard of The Secret of Monkey Island before but after slipping the floppy into the Amiga, my young life changed. My little nine-year-old-mind was entirely blown after realising that worlds I thought only existed inside books could be brought to life through a video game. That day begun a two-decade-long crush on Guybrush and I’ve been a huge fan of the adventure genre ever since.

Last week I came across a post on the Feebles Plays website called Throwback Thursday: Monkey Island. It was clearly written by someone who loves the series just as much as I do and it got me thinking about the characters within the games. A paragraph in the article stood out in particular:

I could not write about my love of Monkey Island without mentioning my favourite regular, Murray the Evil Skull… There is just something very funny to me about a character that wishes to be the pure embodiment of evil and cause chaos, but can’t due to his lack of body. Honestly, Monkey Island is worth playing for Murray who pops up in the most unexpected of places throughout Guybrush’s adventures.

It struck me then that we could all learn a few lessons from Murray.

Don’t let anything hold you back

Murray may have had his skeletal-body blown to pieces by a cannon but did he let that hold him back? No. Many would have been crushed by this tragic accident but our favourite skull turned it into the opportunity he’d been waiting for: to become a demonic overlord and conquer the land of the living. Despite his reduced state, he still considered himself to be an object of pure evil and dreamed of spreading chaos throughout the Caribbean – showing that sometimes all you need to get you places is a positive mental attitude.

Adopt, adapt and overcome

That being said however, it’s also important to know your limits so you can figure out the best way to overcome them. Murray didn’t put his skull in the sand after his unfortunate first encounter with Guybrush and instead adopted and adapted his demonic plan accordingly. Take the conversation shown in the video opposite as a prime an example of his attitude.

Grasp all opportunities that come your way

Murray may have had no obvious means of movement but didn’t let that stop him: he made his way around the Tri-Island area experiencing all that the world had to offer. A role in Slappy Cromwell’s piratical version of Shakespeare on Plunder Island, a scary prop in the crypt on Blood Island, a prize in Dinghy Dog’s guessing game in the Carnival of the Damned – this skull has thrown caution to the wind and seized every opportunity that’s landed in his path.

Ask for help when you need it

Murray has an unbending determination to rule the world and will do whatever it takes to achieve his goal, but understands that sometimes he might need a little push in the right direction. Asking for help is a sign of wisdom rather than one of weakness and that’s why he tries to enlist the assistance of Guybrush on several occasions. Need some bones to support your skull? Then ask the pirate to pick you up so you can bite him and use his. Simple.

There you have it: proof that this is one skull who’s got his s**t together and is going places. Maybe we should all embrace our demonic side and be a little more like Murray.

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