Pre personal computer days, or at least pre when everyone owned their own computer, most of my work was typed. That’s why I have a bunch of precious documents mouldering in my file drawers. They are bilge, but in my own defence they are experimental bilge. Even though I know it, I can’t quite get myself to toss them all out, so I am saving the best of them to my computer.
I thought this piece was hot when I first created it. Given distance and time I re-read it and see its many flaws.
I don’t target any readership in particular; I name brands that may or may not exist today; even if the products have managed to stay the distance , they and other references limit the readership to locals. A lesson to learn here. Re-read old pieces then, unless you feel confident to review, renew and find a market for them, toss them into the circular file. It will be so freeing.
Rhonda Matthews and Elle MacPherson are practically identical. If only Rhonda were a meter taller, weighed several kilos less and a blonde, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart.
Rhonda’s boyfriend can’t get over the resemblance either, especially when the two are bumping and grinding on her luxurious black satin-feel sheets. ‘Can’t tell the diff, can you Nev? Crows Rhonda. ‘Only forty-nine ninety-five at the stock taking sale, exclaims the ecstatic Rhonda between sweaty encou7ntes. Rhonda’s collection of sheets would keep an army of pseudo silk worms on overtime past the third millennium. Nothing but the best for Rhonda.
The muted sounds of the portable TV are a pleasant accompaniment to Nev and Rhonda’s extracurricular activities. Rhonda stops in mid-flight of fantasy to check out a new ad. She takes a mental note that Ajax Gel doesn’t leave a chalky residue as does the cream cleanser that she currently uses. The woman on the ad is giving her creamy cleanser a good talking to, before replacing him with her new beau.
The gel will complement her bathroom collection. Cute ducks with impossibly large bills clean Rhonda’s toilet and kill the nasty germs ready to pounce at her behind an invisible S bend Mr Muscle is a no-nonsense hospital strength cleanser who deals brusquely and efficiently with the shower tiles, and the Spray n Wipe will instantly and without much effort on Rhonda’s part service the benches and mirrors before the rellos arrive. Rhonda takes pride in her housekeeping abi9lities. She considers cleanliness next to a religious experience.
A grandmotherly woman on the TVB tells Rhonda that Cold Power will save on her hot water bills and furthermore, she hints, although she has the option, Cold Power is so good, she would never need to cash in on the product’s guarantee. Other products hide forlornly in a corner. They didn’t quite make the grade. Rhonda will add the creamy cleanser to their ranks.
Rhonda keeps her Elle underwear in the dinky slide-out drawers of her solid, four ply laminated chipboard cupboard Clive Built not Jerry Built. The cupboard also has cleverly concealed shoe-racks of footwear that would have confused Prince Charming but thrilled Imelda Marcos.
It’s Rhonda’s ambition to close the identity gap between Elle and herself. To this end, she does a daily workout at the Testosterone gym – an exclusive club for the discerning – costing an easy twice-yearly payment of five ninety-nine. Her hot-pink leotard and sweat band are the in thing. Everyone is wearing them this year the salesgirl assured her. Rhonda bought two at sixty-two ninety five, oh-five, and the assistant threw in two free sweatbands.
She sips at her invigorating Gaitorade between bench presses. This gives her the ene3rgy to push herself past the comfort zone, because afdtere all, Rhonda knows that without pain there’s no gain. After a gruelling session, Dencorub soothes her tired muscles. A cunning ad explains how the lotion slides through the skin straight to the muscles underneath. She points this out to Nev, who isn’t as quick to agree with her as he once was.
Nev has been a bit broody lately. He’s been downsized from his job at the supermarket. ‘Fired’ roared Nev. ‘Call a spade a spade, carntcha.’
She doesn’t know what’s got into Nev, lately. ‘The country’s economy is counting on you, Nev.’ A grey man in a grey suit explained it to her on the news update. (Rhonda doesn’t see the point in watching a half hour news programme, when the Update encapsulates the whole thing so well.’)
But Nev only mumbles moodily that there aren’t too many jobs around for forty-year old cleaners. ‘Sanitary Engineers, Nev,’ Rhonda calls after his retreating back.
The other night, the Australian Advertising Board explained the important role that advertising plays in the country’s economic scheme. The Advertising Board subsidises television programmes and provides jobs for hundreds of people. It’s the public’s duty to buy, buy, but and watch, watch, watch. ‘TV would look like this,’ they explained gently, ‘if you didn’t.’ A snow covered screen, even for an instant is more than Rhonda can bear.
When she emerges from a shock-induced coma. Rhonda goes into a shopping frenzy. This includes a television for the bathroom. She’s angled it so that the scree in is visible where3ver she stands.
Television advertisements are an educational tool. They have taught Rhonda to love the classics: Mozart, Bach, Beethoven. She sits of an evening on a genuine reproduction Chesterfield couch (eighteen fifty-five), fashioned out of fine puce leatherette. The only colour available at the price. Rhonda chose to buy it a Guests, because they great you like a gust at Guest’s. She watches her favourite ad on tape, stretched out on the couch. Her collection is divided into sections just like at her local Video Library. She has a selection for musicals, drama, romance, comedy and of course the classics. The collection stays dust-free on her Copper Art video tape racks, only nineteen ninety-nine each. Thank goodness for de-regulation; she’s getting ore advertisement to the tape these days without spoiling it with slices of programme.
She’s hasn’t seem much of Nev lately and Rhonda is secretly pleased. Nev has lowered his standards. She discovered generic brand noodles in his kitchen and a home brand toilet paper in the loo.
Rhonda’s new companion is Mitzie the Jack Russell. Mitzie is more receptive to Rhonda’s opinions than Nev ever was. They snuggle up nights and watch the classics. ‘Who can forget that shampoo ad, Mitzie – D-D-D Decore’ warbles Rhonda to her empathic new friend, who howls along in her own fashion.
Nev is a distant memory now. Rhonda can do without him. She’s planning to buy a bottle of Clairol tomorrow and have an organic experience.