Captain N: The Game Master
Saturday, September 17, 1994, 12:00 PM
"Hello! Welcome to 'Immaterial Girls'!" Lana said with a bright smile. "Thank you for joining us. I'm Lana Deschain."
"And I'm Kristen Shallowayne." Kristen added with an equally bright smile.
"This FAX infomercial is paid for by me to help all our fellow females out there save money!"
"That's right!" Kristen turned to Lana. "Although, I think the title is kinda weird."
Lana shrugged. "Maybe so. Anyway, we're at the mall." She pointed. "Look! Here she is!"
Stacey walked into the mall. Lana pressed a button on a stopwatch.
Lana and Kristen walked over to Stacey and put their arms around her.
"Stacey, hi!" Lana greeted. "You're the luckiest girl on Earth!"
"That's right!" Kristen said. "We're using you as our example in our TV special on how to save money!"
Stacey faced the camera. "Me? Like, wow! What do I do?"
"Just shop like you came here to do." Lana said.
"Go!" Kristen said.
Stacey took off.
"What she doesn't realize is we're using her as our example of what not to do." Kristen said.
"Here we are at Kmart, a half-hour into Stacey's shopping trip." Lana said. "Ah, and here comes Stacey!"
Stacey walked by with her shopping cart.
Kristen stopped her. "Stacey, what have you got here?"
"Like, I got some new dresses!"
Lana leaned over and looked into the cart. "Stacey, I count three new dresses. Do you really need that many?"
"Uh-huh." Lana said. "And three pairs of shoes?"
"Like, to go with the dresses!"
"And why do you have seven new shirts?" Kristen asked.
"I like the colors!" Stacey said with a grin.
Lana patted Stacey on the back. "Okay, Stacey, we'll catch up with ya later."
Stacey waved at the camera. "Like, bye!"
She took off.
Kristen faced the camera. "All those clothes are clearly a waste of money."
"Let me show you what we mean." Lana said.
"Here we are in my room." Lana said. "Let's open my closet."
She slid open her closet door.
"You probably expected the Ruler of Videoland to have tons of expensive clothes made out of silk. Well, that's not the case. Here's what I have. I've got fifteen shirts total, enough for two weeks with no repetitions plus one dress shirt. I've got two pairs of jeans, one blue and one black. I've got two pairs of jean shorts, same colors. I've got three pairs of sweatpants and three sweatshirts for the winter, and four pairs of comfy house shorts for the rest of the year. I have a blue jeans jacket, a blue jeans vest, and a black leather jacket for cold weather. I have one tuxedo, which I wear on formal occasions only. I even have my royal clothes here. I sometimes like to wear this outfit for nostalgic reasons. But to me dresses are pretty uncomfortable. I don't see why girls wear them. Pants are a lot more comfortable. All this is far less than all the dresses and shirts that Stacey has. I've been to her house. I know that she has a walk-in closet. Not me, because I don't need a lot of clothes. Now, you remember how many pairs of shoes Stacey was buying? Three. That's in addition to the (at last count) ten that she already has! I don't know about you, but to me that's far too many. Here are my shoes: two pairs of sneakers, one laced and one velcro; two pairs of sandals, one black and one brown; and a pair of black dress shoes for the tux. I still have my blue boots, which I like to wear sometimes. But that's it - six pairs. Now, I admit that I used to be very materialistic and had tons of dresses and shoes." She put her arm around Kristen. "But then I realized that I don't need them, thanks to Kristen. I sold my fancy clothes and got enough money to spend on other things."
"Yeah, Heather and I sold our mother's junk at a yard sale." Kristen put in. "We didn't need it taking up space in our house."
"Exactly." Lana said. "And the shoes Stacey was buying are high-heels. Never wear those. Wearing high-heeled shoes will create bunions and calluses on your feet. They are more common in women than in men because of the shoes. I've never worn high-heeled shoes. I don't see why women wear them and put themselves through such torture."
"Neither do I." Kristen said. "My mother wore high-heels a lot and often tripped or lost her balance. She nearly broke her feet quite a few times. I told her 'Mom, don't wear the damn high-heels!', but she wouldn't listen."
"Yeah. Stick to flats, girls."
"Now, I also saw that Stacey was buying three pairs of bras." Kristen added.
"Ugh! Do not wear bras! Wearing bras can cause breast cancer. Women who wear bras 24 hours per day have a 3 out of 4 chance of developing breast cancer. Women who wear bras more than 12 hours per day, but not in bed, have a 1 out of 7 chance. Women who wear bras less than 12 hours per day have a 1 out of 152 chance. Women who never wear bras have a 1 out of 168 chance. There is a 125-fold difference between 24-hour wearing and never wearing. I've never worn a bra. You shouldn't either. If you are, quit now. If you haven't worn a bra yet, but plan on doing so soon, don't. However, if you're wearing a low-cut shirt and don't want guys looking at your boobs, wear an undershirt. It serves the same basic functions of a bra, and it doesn't leave those ugly lines on your skin." She faced Kristen. "Hey, Kris,...you've given me an idea. Let's see if we can help someone."
"You want me to sell my clothes?!" Zelda asked in shock.
"Yeah. Wadaya need them for?" Lana asked. "They just use up your money. Look at me. I'm the Ruler of Videoland, and I'm wearing sneakers, blue jean shorts, and a Billy Idol shirt."
"You know, I think there's some kind of a conspiracy to use fashion as a way of making females spend their money." Kristen said. "Sometimes when I'm in the store, I see the words 'Wardrobe Update' on the front covers of magazines. Reading those crappy magazines and seeing ads on TV seem to make girls feel they need to keep up with the latest fashions. It's really quite sad."
"Don't pay attention to what you read in magazines or see on TV." Lana said. "Keep your wardrobe to a minimum and save your money for other things." She turned to Zelda. "Now Zelda, you're the Ruler of Hyrule. One of the powers you have that you may not realize is the power of being a trend-setter. When Hylian females see you, the Princess, dressing in expensive clothes, they feel that they need to have expensive clothes as well. But if you get rid of your expensive clothes and buy jeans and sneakers, other Hylian women will do the same. You'll save everyone money."
Zelda thought about this, then smiled. "Okay, I'll do it!"
Kristen patted Zelda on the back. "Attagirl, Zelda!"
"We'll help you take all this stuff out to the courtyard."
Tables were set up in the courtyard, and Zelda's clothes were on them, arranged by price.
Zelda walked over to Lana and Kristen. "Well, I've just announced my yard sale to all of Hyrule."
Lana smiled. "Great! Your customers should be arriving shortly. I like the new look, by the way."
Zelda, dressed in sneakers, blue jeans, and a blue short-sleeved shirt, smiled. "Thanks, Lana!"
"Here come your first customers now." Kristen informed her. She faced the camera. "One more comment about clothes before we head back to the mall. Don't wear pantyhose. You really don't need it. You're just wasting your money."
"Now let's go see how Stacey's doing." Lana said. "Zelda, we'll check back with you in a bit."
"Now we find Stacey shopping for jewelry." Lana said. "Stacey, tell me. Why do you need jewelry?"
"Why do you need jewelry?"
"No, Stacey. I'm asking you why you need jewelry."
"To look good." Stacey replied. She pointed at an item in the display case. "Do you think those earrings would look good on me?"
"Here we find another group of items that girls waste their money on - jewelry." Kristen said. "Honestly, I don't see the need for them. I have no desire for jewelry."
"I used to," Lana admitted, "until you came along."
"When girls are young, they feel pressured by their friends to get their ears pierced." Kristen said. "My mom had mine pierced when I was a baby. But no matter when you get your ears pierced, you are destroying part of your body. And for what? Stacey says she's buying jewelry to make her look good. She already looks good. All earrings do is stay in your ears. Do you think guys care about your earrings? Hell, no! Spending large sums of money on earrings is a big waste. You get nothing for your money. All you young girls watching this, keep these things in mind when you feel pressured by your friends to get your ears pierced. Decide if damaging your earlobes is worth impressing your friends, because if your friends refuse to accept you the way you are, then they're not really your friends."
"Well said, Kristen." Lana said. "And other jewelry like rings, bracelets, and necklaces just hang on parts of your body. You can do without them. This goes for you boys, too. The only metal a person needs to wear is a watch to tell the time, and you don't need an expensive one."
"Do without them." Kristen repeated softly.
The two girls turned and stared at each other, smiles coming to their faces.
"Hey, Zelda, how's the yard sale goin'?" Lana asked.
"Great! I'm making a lot of money!"
"Well, here's something that'll get ya even more money." Kristen placed a large wooden box on the table Zelda was standing at.
Zelda opened the box. "My jewelry! I can't sell these!"
"Why not?" Lana asked. "They serve no purpose."
"Yeah, but - "
"And they just take up space." Kristen added.
Zelda sighed. "Okay."
"Sell the jewelry you're wearing, too." Lana said.
Zelda took off her jewelry and put it in the box. "But I have to keep my crown. I'm the Princess."
"Of course," Lana said, "but that doesn't mean you have to wear it all the time."
Lana put an arm around Zelda and hugged her. "We'll be back in a while."
"The next phase of Stacey's mall quest is shopping for cosmetics." Lana said. "Stacey, why do you need make-up?"
"Like, to look good, of course!"
Kristen faced the camera. "Cosmetics, another product that women waste their money on. Lana, you used to wear make-up, didn't you?"
"A bit, yes. However, you taught me that I didn't have to enhance my appearance with chemicals. I should appreciate the way I look. A shower and a face wash are all that I need. No, you will not get to see me shower."
"Damn, I was looking forward to that." Kristen said. "All you girls out there, if your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn't like the way you look naturally, dump them and find someone that does."
"Besides, did you know that wearing make-up can prematurely age your skin?" Lana asked.
Kristen nodded. "Yeah. You don't need nail polish either." she added. "It serves the same purpose as jewelry: wasting your money. Just keep your nails short and clean."
"Lipstick's pointless, too." Lana added. "Throw away all that crap, and don't buy anymore." She grinned. "I think you know who we need to visit."
Kristen grinned back. "Indeed I do."
"Yard sale's over, huh, Zelda?" Kristen asked, noticing the rather empty courtyard.
"Yep! My clothes and jewelry went fast!"
"How much money did you make?" Lana asked.
Zelda picked up a list. "10,457,856 rupees."
"Translation: 6,971,904 credits or United States dollars." Kristen supplied.
Lana smiled. "Thank you, human calculator. Zelda, there's one more thing you can do to save money."
"I can't believe I'm doing this." Zelda said, opening up a bottle of mascara. "I spent good money on this."
"Money you wasted." Lana reminded her. "Toss it."
Zelda washed out the tube, along with her eyeliner. The three girls helped Zelda get rid of all her cosmetics and threw the empty tubes and bottles in the trash.
"Perfume, too." Lana said.
"But I need to smell good!" Zelda cried.
"Use soap, shampoo, and deodorant. That's all you need." Kristen said.
Zelda opened up a bottle of perfume and poured the contents into the sink. Lana and Kristen did likewise.
"Here we are back at the mall." Kristen said. "Looks like Stacey's shopping for a new purse now. Stace, how's it goin'?"
"Like, not good! I need to find a new purse for my new compact and all my totally in vogue make-up!"
Stacey finally decided on three purses. She put them in her shopping cart.
"Why three purses, Stacey?" Lana asked.
"One to go with each of my three new dresses! Like, duh!"
Kristen faced the camera. "Sadly, this is typical of female thinking. They feel they must have a different-colored purse for every different-colored dress they own. They have to be color-coordinated."
"Here's news for you girls. You don't even need one purse." Lana said. "I've never had one, and I've done just fine."
"Same goes for me. Here's what you do." Kristen took her wallet out of her front left jeans pocket. "You keep your wallet in your front left pants pocket. Don't keep it in your back packet, because then it'll be uncomfortable to sit. Or, if you're wearing a jacket, you can keep it there and leave your pants free to hold other, more important things." She opened her wallet. "Inside, we've got cash, a driver's license, a few movie rental cards, my car registration, my car insurance paper, and one credit card. Now personally, I don't like charging items. I only occasionally do that for Christmas shopping. You'll notice I have no pictures in my wallet. A lot of females like to keep pictures of relatives to show off to friends. 'Oh, look at my darling Justin! He just learned to walk! Isn't he adorable?!' People, if someone's interested in seeing your family pictures, you can bring some in from home. Don't carry them around in your wallet. They just take up space." She closed her wallet and put it back in her pocket. She then took some other items out of her other pocket. "In your front right pocket go your checkbook, your car keys, a comb, and a pen." She returned them to her pocket. "You really don't need to carry anything else."
"You know, that's a lesson girls can learn from guys." Lana said. "Why is it that girls 'need' purses, and guys don't?"
"Simple - their cosmetics!"
The two girls laughed.
"Ooh, Stacey's heading towards the check-out lane!" Lana said. "C'mon!"
"So, Stacey, you get everything you want?" Lana asked.
"Yeah, I think so!"
"Damn, look at all that stuff she's bought!" Kristen said in mock amazement.
Stacey unloaded her cart, and the cashier checked the items out.
"$205.32." the cashier said.
Stacey handed the cashier her credit card. "Like, charge it!"
Finally, the cashier handed Stacey her credit card, driver's license, and receipt. "Have a nice day."
The three girls exited the store, then exited the mall.
Lana pressed a button on the stopwatch. "Stacey, your shopping trip took five hours, thirteen minutes, and twenty-nine seconds."
Stacey smiled. "Wow! Today's been one of my faster days!"
"Way too long." Kristen commented. "I'm not saying all women are like this, but women in general seem to spend forever shopping and end up buying a lot more than they originally planned on. That's why guys don't like going shopping with girls, whether it's to the mall or the grocery store. Most guys - not all, but most - know what they want to get and usually buy only that. Their shopping trips are a lot shorter. That's something else all you girls out there can learn from guys. Buy only what you came for, unless you see something that you really want or need. But first decide if it's worth buying."
"Stacey, thank you for helping us out today." Lana said.
"I hope that you'll watch this program when it airs tomorrow night and pick up some of our ideas." Lana said.
"I'll try." Stacey promised.
Kristen faced Stacey. "Hey, Stacey, can I interest you in a haircut?"
"Like, gag me with a whole plate setting!"
"We've only got a few minutes left. Let's go back to Hyrule and see how Zelda's doing." Lana said.
"How are you holding up, Zelda?" Lana asked.
"This is torture!" Zelda cried. "I can't powder my nose!"
"You poor thing." Kristen said in mock sympathy. She faced the camera. "I'm gonna spend our last few minutes talking about a topic very near and dear to my heart - haircuts! How often do we see the story of a girl keeping someone waiting because she has to wash her hair? She has to style it, set it, dry it, get it perfect. Please! That's the problem with having long hair. It takes a lot of work to keep it looking good. Just get your hair cut short. Short hair is great! Not only does it look good, it takes up a lot less of your time." She faced Lana. "Lana, what have you to say about this?"
"Well, Kris, when I first met you, Stacey pretty much made me get my hair cut. I put my hair in your hands, not knowing what to expect." Lana smiled. "But I love it. I don't spend nearly as much time with it anymore. I'm glad I got my hair cut, and now I have you cut it regularly. It costs me less money to get my hair cut than to take care of my long hair. I advise all girls to get their hair cut short."
"Yeah, just shampoo, condition, and rinse." Kristen said. "Then comb it only a few times a day."
The two hosts paused and looked at each other, grins coming to their faces. They slowly turned and looked at Zelda.
Zelda looked at one, then the other, in confusion. Suddenly, her eyes widened. "Absolutely not!"
"Oh, c'mon, Zelda!" Kristen said.
"You've agreed to everything else!" Lana reminded her.
"Please!" Kristen begged.
"With chocolate sprinkles on top!" Lana added.
"All right!" Zelda agreed.
Kristen jumped up and down and ran into the bathroom.
Over the next half-hour, Zelda sat on a chair in her bathroom. Kristen had tied a towel around Zelda's neck and had wet her hair. Then she cut off large chunks of Zelda's hair to begin with, followed by smaller, more precise snips. Zelda sat still, her back to the mirror. She had spent her whole life growing her hair and taking care of it. She wasn't sure if suddenly cutting it was the right thing to do. She'd find out soon enough.
"Done!" Kristen exclaimed as she brushed the last bit of hair off of Zelda's face. She took off the towel.
Zelda stood up and slowly turned to face the mirror. She looked up and stared at her own reflection.
Zelda's hair was as short as Lana's. It was combed in basically the same way as well. Zelda ran her left hand through her hair, unaccustomed to the feel. A smile came to her lips as she decided she liked it.
"Well, Zelda dear, how do you feel?" Lana asked.
"Light-headed." Zelda replied.
The three of them laughed.
Zelda nodded. "I like it." She faced Kristen. "Thanks, Kristen!"
The three girls walked back into Zelda's bedroom.
Lana ran her hand through Zelda's hair. "I like it, too. It brings out your...ears."
"How do you feel?" Kristen asked. "Seriously."
"This'll all take getting used to," Zelda said, "but I'll manage."
"But surely you feel freer now, don't you?" Kristen asked.
Zelda smiled and nodded. "Yeah. I do."
Lana put a hand on Zelda's shoulder. "You know, Zelda, even though we couldn't help Stacey, I'm glad we could help you."
"So am I." Kristen said.
"Me, too." Zelda agreed.
Lana and Kristen sat in Kristen's room on her bed. They were playing Mortal Kombat on the Super Nintendo.
After Lana won the match, the two of them looked away from the TV screen and faced the camera.
"Surely none of us make the best purchases all the time." Lana said.
"But that doesn't mean we shouldn't look for ways to improve our spending habits." Kristen said.
"What we've presented on tonight's program are suggestions, not rules." Lana made clear. "You can follow any, all, or none of them. It's up to you."
"Our hope is that at least one girl, out there somewhere, watching this program, has heard our message and will make some better financial choices."
"It's your money." Lana said. "Put it to good use."
"For instance, you can use the money you saved to buy some new video games." Kristen said. "If you're making better financial choices, now you're playing with power!"
"This message has been brought to you by the Videoland Better Business Bureau." Lana said.
"Thank you for joining us," Kristen said, "and good night."
That said, the two girls turned back to their video game.
Copyright © 1999 by Mark Moore
Copyright © 1999 by Mark Moore