Where nothing less than perfection is good enough!
By Tracy Noble
The stage is set in two parts. Stage Right is set with a registration desk. Stage Left contains a bench or chair and a garbage can.
Lights come up on the Stage Right half only. At the beginning of the scene, we see six women in groups of two. They are participating in activities relating to the “Perfect Pounds” theme. Group 1 is using a tape measure to measure unusual body parts, e.g., nose, wrist, ankle, etc. After measuring, they record their findings on a clipboard. They take turns measuring and recording. In Group 2, one woman is exercising while another is using a stopwatch to measure her time and then records it on a clipboard. They also switch off roles. The first person in Group 3 is on the scales while the other is waiting with a clipboard. When the scales don’t “show what they are supposed to”, the woman takes off a piece of clothing – e.g. shoes, watch, belt, etc. until she achieves the “perfect” weight. They switch as well.
We see Carrie enter the room a little hesitantly, since it is her first time. The groups continue their activity, but they are very aware of the new person.
PERFECT PAULA (She is behind the registration desk) Good morning! Welcome to PERFECT POUNDS … where nothing less than perfection is good enough! Are YOU pursuing perfection today?
CARRIE (taken aback by the greeting and suddenly self-conscious in the midst of the perfect women milling around): Well, now that you mention it, I suppose I SHOULD be pursuing perfection. When it comes to pounds, I'm far from perfect … So, where do I go from here?
PAULA (gives Carrie a long, appraising look and makes not-so-subtle eye contact with the other “ models of perfection”): You certainly took a step in the right direction when you walked through that door … Our job is to point you toward perfection and it's YOUR job to follow these instructions to the letter. If WE can't help you achieve perfection, then NOBODY can. Here at Perfect Pounds, we take a very DIM view of ladies who are not completely committed to perfect poundage. (The groups nod their enthusiastic approval).
CARRIE (nodding enthusiastically): I'm ready! You just tell me what to do, and I'll do it. That's right! You won't have to tell me twice. I'll have the most perfect pounds you've ever seen …
PAULA: Alrighty, then! First, step on the scales and let's see just how far you are from perfect.
(The groups stop what they are doing to watch.)
CARRIE (horrified): Here? Now? In front of all these people?
PAULA: Is there a problem? Your fellow Perfect Pounders take a very DIM view of newcomers who won't make a public declaration of their pre-perfection poundage each time they come in. (The groups react to what she says.)
CARRIE (stepping on the scales): Well, when you put it THAT way … I certainly can't let the sisterhood down. I aim to be THE most Perfect Pounder in the place!
CARRIE (jumping off the scales and trying to muffle the voice): I have to do this EVERY time I come in?
PAULA: That's right. Girls, tell our new member the golden rule …
GROUPS: "The road to perfection is paved with humiliation!"
CARRIE (less than enthusiastically, but with a sigh of resignation): Okay. I get it. I'll do it.
PAULA: Now, don't you worry! The hard part is over. Now, it's as easy as pie …
GROUPS: (They just back, horrified and GASP!)
PAULA: Ooops! Sorry, girls! I know that was one of our forbidden fruits … (looking at Carrie) At Perfect Pounds, we avoid the use of food-based words like "pie" -- unless, that is, we're reciting the Perfect Pounds Pledge … which you will be required to do each time you come in, after your public declaration of pre-perfection poundage.
PAULA (Comes out from behind the desk. She clears her throat, stands tall and proud, with her head held high and her hand over her heart, recites solemnly with the rest of the Groups, who are also standing tall:)
Whatever it takes,
Refuse pies and cakes. (Put your hand out – “stop”)
Though sweet on the lips, (Point to lips)
They're death to the hips. (Point to hips)
When tempted to cheat
Just choose not to eat. (“Zip” your lips)
And put down that fork (Hold a fork)
If ever it's pork. (Wag your right index finger)
Beat every craving
Without misbehaving. (Hands together in prayer)
When it comes to size, (Hands on hips)
Perfection's the prize. (Hands in the air)
When the pledge is finished, they all do a “golf clap” for each other. Then they return to their respective places.
CARRIE: Wow! That was … impressive. I don't know if I could EVER stand up and repeat the pledge as PERFECTLY as you did.
PAULA: Well, you know, we take a pretty DIM view of those Perfect Pounders who don't take the pledge seriously. I would STRONGLY advise you to practice, because -- as we all know – (Everyone) Practice makes PERFECT!
CARRIE (nodding nervously, writing things on her pad as she says): Right. Public declaration of pre-perfection poundage. Dim View. Practice makes Perfect. Dim View. Memorize Pledge. Dim View. OK! Got it! Now what?
PAULA (Goes back behind registration desk and hands Carrie a huge stack of papers): Well, the NEXT step toward perfection is to fill out these forms.
CARRIE: ALL of them?
PAULA: ALL of them! Is that a PROBLEM? I'm sure I don't need to remind you that we take a DIM view of Perfect Pounders who are unwilling or unable to perfectly process this paperwork. I would suggest you take these home and bring them back tomorrow. It's time for my lunch break and I'm feeling a little cranky.
CARRIE (anxiously, takes the papers and hurries to leave, SL): No, no, it's not a problem! I can do whatever it takes, you'll see. I'm perfectly perfect when it comes to public declarations of pre-perfection poundage … pledges … and paperwork …
PAULA: Perfect! You've got a great attitude. I have no doubt that you'll make us proud.
Carrie exits SL and moves to the bench. Lights remain down.
PAULA: (To the others) Ladies?
They all stop what they are doing and listen.
They all get very excited – raise their clipboards, push each other out of the way, run for the door!)
Lights fade Stage Right and come up Stage Left.
CARRIE (struggles with her hands full of paperwork and her mind full of requirements. She finally plops down on a bench): Whew! That was an ordeal! But, no one said perfection was a piece of cake …
(Catching herself using a "forbidden food" word, she covers her mouth and looks around guiltily in case a Perfect Pounder is in earshot.)
CARRIE (slumps with an air of defeat): How am I EVER going to measure up … when I have to do so much more just to weigh a little less? All the do's and don'ts seem impossible and just add to my stress … I don’t want anyone taking a DIM view of my efforts, but there’s something inside me …
GOD'S VOICE: Does it matter?
CARRIE (looks around, startled, almost falls off the bench): Did I say that out loud?
GOD'S VOICE: Does it matter?
CARRIE (with dawning awareness): God? … It IS You! … What did You say?
GOD’S VOICE: Does it matter? That’s the REAL question … It’s not about what others think. When you want to know what's truly important … When you want peace more than perfection … When you want liberty more than looks … When you are more interested in My view than the world's view … Just ask … DOES -- IT -- MATTER? That’s the DIM view I want you to take – Does it matter!
CARRIE (stands, smiles, bundles her papers and rushes toward the trash bin): You're right, God! None of these things truly matter! (Takes a few pages at a time and stuffs them into the trash bin.) None of these things will satisfy me … or solve my problems … or reduce my stress (not to mention my waistline!) … or put me in a place to serve others … or lead me closer to YOU! And THAT'S what matters most. From now on, God, I'll take Your DIM view! I’ll ask you – “Does it matter?”
Smiling, Carrie exits. Lights out.
"But one who looks intently at the perfect law -- the law of liberty -- and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this one will be blessed in what they do."
Read more articles by Tracy Noble or search for articles on the same topic or others.