My final cheeky charlatan of our April Fools month celebration might just be the epitome of “cheeky” and “charlatan.” He’s a suave and charming (or so he thinks) fast-talking salesman who only want to make sure that you get the best deal on a ship in the Tri-Island Area! Yes, he’s the one and only “Smilin'” Stan S. Stanman from the Monkey Island series!
Akin to the stereotypical used car salesman, Mr. Stanman, who we initially encounter as only “Stan” in The Secret of Monkey Island, the first game in the series, is the proprietor or his own “previously-owned vessels” shop. It’s there that wannabe pirate Guybrush Threepwood must purchase a ship in order to save his fair maiden Elaine Marley. Like any good(?) salesman, upon their first meeting, Stan immediately leans in heavy, arms flailing about like a frenzied octopus, pitching all his ships as the best in all the islands. He quickly makes all the promises as Guybrush carefully peruses his wares. But. our hero soon realizes that Stan’s inventory isn’t quite what he expected. Stan does everything in his motor-mouthed power to make Guybrush a deal, the best deal, any deal on one of his ships, and he nearly cheats Guybrush into buying what might be the least seaworthy vessel among all his merchandise. Though Stan might fancy himself as clever, Guybrush leaves the bait hanging. Oh, our hero does get one of Stan’s ships…eventually. A crumbling casket of a ship, but a ship nonetheless!
My history with the Monkey Island series and the very cheeky charlatan Stan S. Stanman goes only as far as the first game. But in reading about later games in the series, it turns out that Stan led quite the life! After giving up on ships, he turned his sales tactics onto numerous other used wares of questionable origin, including but not limited to coffins, crypts, restaurant supplies, and timeshares. For whatever heavenly reason, Stan tends to turn up when he is both least needed and most needed in Guybrush’s adventures. He seems to have just what Guybrush needs in the moment, from life insurance policies to treasure maps, Stan’s the man, or so he thinks, anyway.
So, the next time you find yourself in the boots of a pirate (hopefully without the actual pirate) tasked with any number of things that pirates must do, and it seems that you’re missing something or other needed for your many daring quests, you need only find Smilin’ Stan. Let him spew all his “I’ll stand on my head to make you a deal” nonsense first (not like you could get a word in edgewise anyway), because after he does, you’ll find that Stan’s probably got exactly what you need, even if you don’t know what “it” is!