Putting the “Sweet” in Sweetums
All my life I’ve been surrounded by the Muppets. My Uncle does work for the Muppets, so naturally we got a lot of swag. Growing up we got shirts, dolls, school supplies, you name it. I was particularly fond of Animal- the rambunctious red-headed spaz with an edgy rock persona matched my wild antics as a kid (and somewhat as an adult too). Actually, I was pretty fond of the entire Muppets cast, they hold a special place in my heart and bragging rights as I could claim to be related to a producer, mega cool in Elementary school if you ask me (and still to this day).
But there was just one Muppet I could not get on board with. No matter his role in a Muppets production, big or small, I would assuredly freak out as soon as he, or rather it hit the screen.
The gargantuan and raggedy monster of a Muppet was more nightmare inducing than fun and playful. As a young kid, Sweetums gave me more anxiety than checking to see if my carnival fish was still alive. Let me tell you, there was nothing sweet about this Muppet.
Eventually, I got over my fear of Sweetums and developed new fears such as checking my credit score and discovered new sources of anxiety such as having to grocery shop. Until November of 2016.
The Muppets got chosen to do a special bit for the ever-infamous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I was in school in New Jersey at the time, and my uncle invited me to the rehearsal studios located near my bus station where I would soon be returning home for turkey day (yeah those new anxieties? Port Authority was definitely top tier in that category). I was stoked out of my mind, I could meet Animal in the flesh!!! I could get a little shady with my lady Miss Piggy! I could crack the joke “times fun when you’re having flies” with Kermit!
I walked into the building and felt uber official as I was brought up to the rehearsal studio. I didn’t get a badge or anything, but I was told to help myself to craft services, which you know I did because free food is the best food. Duh.
I found my uncle and settled in amongst people who were more important than I’ll ever be. He introduced me to some of the puppeteers, behind the scenes production gurus, and Animal himself!
Everything was going amazingly, I was so elated to be spending this time in NY with my Uncle and watching the rehearsals for the parade take shape and form.
And then he walked in.
No, not even walked, Sweetums lumbered in, and he was no damn puppet. He towered me by at least two feet and was even more grotesque and exaggerated in person.
I felt a cold sweat start as I nervously watched Sweetums shambled around the floor, overshadowing the other Muppets. What made everything even worse was that I couldn’t see the puppeteer behind him, it was if Sweetums had truly come to life and manifested himself from one of my nightmares and was now free to roam about casually as if he were a real, thing.
I was in full on meltdown mode. I wanted to escape to find my craft services buddies, but the only exits took me past my childhood, and now adulthood, fear.
Yeah, that all changed when Sweetums took his helmet off.
Below that matted, knotted hair and that wide gaping mouth with crooked teeth, was one of the most handsome men I’ve ever had the pleasure of laying eyes on. The man behind the monster of my developmental years was a certified hottie.
That fear-based adrenaline mixed with hormones to produce the weirdest sensation I had ever experienced aside from my klonopin days. I was now scared of how infatuated I was with the beastly creature. It is still considered beasitality if he’s the man behind the monster?
I nervously twisted the ring on my finger as I carefully watched everything this man did. This can’t be happening, I thought. But soon, his perfect face was once again shrouded behind a mask and I once again realized how afraid I was of this creature.
Point being, looks can be deceiving and maybe I need to be a little more considerate of the men I so quickly swipe left on during one of my Tinder sessions. You never know what sweetie is behind a beastie.