Once, not too long ago, in the nearby Kingdom of Trendiville, which is actually a northeast suburb of the Greater Metropolitan Kingdom of Yuppilandia, there lived a very good-looking princess, who occupied a very good-looking condominium on the top of the hill on the best side of town. This good-looking princess lived a good-looking life, so it appeared--and how it appeared, as her mother the Queen had always taught her, was what was most important. Indeed, if there was any one lesson she had learned from her Queen Mother, it was "Always Look Good, for what matters most is that which is seen." The princess knew that this lesson was an important lesson, and she vowed she would always remember it.
Thus, every morning, when the princess awoke from her mahogony and chestnut designer-name bed and crawled out from her pastel-floral designer-name sheets, she would dash to her royal powder room to gaze into her royal three-way mirror. There she would comb through her salon-tinted hair, but hardly ever wash it, since it shined just as beautifully when it was dirty as it did when it was clean. She would then cover her unwashed face with Rose Beige Cover-all Foundation and Passion Pink Brush-on Blush ("Why bother wiping off the old stuff when you are just going to add more?" she would laugh to herself), smear on three coats of Red Ruby Lipstick and matching Nail Glaze, and add six coats of Pure Black Truly Lush Mascara to her eyelashes. Lastly, she stepped onto her digital scale to make sure she weighed the correct amount--to the tenth of a pound. (Unfortunately for her, any weight more than .3 pounds over her usual meant she would now have to aerobicize to the Jane Fonda Prime Time Video Workout until the number on the royal scale was acceptable once again.)
Getting dressed was always a time-consuming ordeal for the Royal Princess, not only because she was very picky that the chartreuse of her royal Ann Taylor sweater matched the chartreuse of her royal I. Magnin skirt and the chartreuse of her royal Gucci leather boots, but also because it could be quite difficult for her to find her clothes, since she arranged her royal closet in a very hasty manner, folding what was on top of the piles, and not bothering to tidy anything beneath. Likewise, when she cleaned her royal condominium, she was very careful to clear every surface, and wipe every counter, but she never did clean below the surface, or use hidden germ killers of any kind. And although the shelves were never clean all the way through, they did look good, and, as she knew from her Royal Mother, looking good was what mattered most.
One morning, the princess awoke very happy indeed. For, she had a royal birthday party to attend that day, and was very excited. Parties for the Princess were a special and important time, when she could talk to many people about many different things, and laugh and smile and appear as if she were having a very marvelous time. Of course, she never did talk to any one person for any length of time, because that time concentrated on one person would take away her chances of meeting lots of people, and to her it was very important that she knew lots of people so she could always appear quite popular. And she would talk so much about so many things to so many people that she never really remembered anything she had said, and never really knew anyone whom she talked to very well at all. But still, how she loved to attend parties!
She was especially excited for this party today. For, the young and beautiful Royal Princess had just bought herself a young and beautiful Honda Aero 160 red shiny royal motor scooter, and was very fond of the idea of all those people watching her arrive at the party on the brand new shiny red scooter.
So, in the morning of the day of this eagerly-awaited party, the Princess dressed and attended to her two-hour morning routine, same as usual, and hopped onto her royal motor scooter, only to notice that--alas--the scooter was quite low on gas. So she drove to the royal gas station, where the royal gas station attendant filled the tank with gas, and washed the scooter, at the Princess's request, until the motor scooter sparkled like a shiny red ripe apple. And when the station attendant had finished thoroughly cleaning the outside of the motor scooter, the attendant said to the Princess, "Perhaps I should check the engine. It sounds a little funny, and it never hurts to check under the hood."
But the Royal Princess, being in quite the hurry that she was, and knowing that arriving late at party is a terrible thing to be seen doing, insisted that a filled gas tank and a fine cleaning were quite sufficient for that day. "Why worry about the funny sounds from the motor?" she asked. "What is important is that the lovely scooter brings me to the party on time, so I can look really good when I arrive."
So the gas station attendant agreed, reluctantly, and sent the Princess on her merry way.
Well, it unfortunately came to pass that while the Princess was riding this very shiny very sparkly brand new motor scooter to this party, the royal scooter's poor sick engine stalled while the Princess was making a left turn. Stuck in the street with a stopped engine, the young princess and her young scooter were struck by a fast moving truck and they both died.
And when the Royal Mortician had carefully applied the Princess's makeup, and placed a brand new party dress on her Royal Corpse, all of the lovely guests at her Royal Funeral agreed, "Too bad she never made it to the party. Well, at least she looks good. . ."
We can learn a lot from the Princess. The moral of her story is: A clean and attractive exterior can indeed be of some importance, but it takes a working-quality motor to travel any distance.
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Copyright 1996 Rebecca Eisenberg firstname.lastname@example.org