Right now I’m taking a class about satire, which I’m actually enjoying quite a bit—probably because I really enjoy being sarcastic. Anyway, our midterm project was to write our own original satire, and I’m feeling kind of proud of what I came up with (not to brag or anything, but English is not usually my thing, and most of the time I struggle with writing essays). I decided to write about how the media (especially through magazines like Seventeen) makes girls feel like they have to be pretty in order to be successful, and makes it seem normal for girls to spend half an hour on their makeup. Just something that’s really been annoying me recently. So here it is—tell me what you think in the comments (the project isn’t due until Friday, and I’d love some Sparkler input). It was just a normal day for Rose, 17—at least, that’s what she thought when she woke up for school one Monday in early fall. Rose never realized that her actions that fateful morning would serve as an inspiration, not only for her younger sister, but also for thousands of girls to come. Late Rose woke up that morning and rolled out of bed as usual, after many sleepy pushes of the snooze button. After all, a girl needs her beauty sleep, doesn’t she? Walking to the bathroom, Rose happened to glimpse the time on her alarm clock. That’s when all hell broke loose. With a shriek that woke up the neighborhood, Rose flew into a full-on panic attack. She only had fifteen minutes before school started. And it took twenty minutes just to drive to school. Now, normally, this would not really be an issue for Rose; in fact, the last eight tardies she had received due to waking up late proved that. Unfortunately, after serving two detentions as a result of her tardies, one more tardy would mean a suspension. And a suspension meant no way to show off her designer clothes, professionally straightened hair, and flawless makeup at school. Somehow, in those fifteen minutes, Rose needed to shower, exfoliate, blow dry and straighten her hair, do her makeup, and find a perfectly coordinated outfit that didn’t look like she had spent hours putting together. Now, in this tragic case, we can all agree that a panic attack would certainly be justified. In fact, so did Rose. She spent several minutes hyperventilating on her bathroom floor, praying for divine intervention. Then she glanced up at her reflection in the mirror and saw how splotchy her skin had become and how much the dark circles under her eyes had grown. This shocked poor Rose into silence. “What have I done?” she gasped. “This is gonna take forever to conceal!” She took a deep breath, and said quietly to herself, “Okay, calm down. First things first. . .” We can only guess how Rose managed to get dressed in trendy heeled boots, dark skinny jeans, a cropped jacket, and dark blue top, straighten her hair, and quickly do her makeup. The best explanation possible is that she refused to succumb to her panic and stayed strong through it all. The Crash Pulling out of the driveway, she glanced at herself in her rearview mirror and smiled happily at her reflection. Then again . . . maybe she needed just a little more eyeliner. Rose pulled the pencil out of her makeup bag. Never letting go of the gas pedal, she sped off toward school, all while doing her makeup in the rearview mirror. Of course, doing her eye makeup was much more important than keeping her eyes on the road—seriously, Rose hadn’t been seen out of the house without eyeliner on since sixth grade!—so what happened next is in no way her fault. Rose crashed into a truck head-on. The impact broke her neck, and she crumpled against the car seat, unconscious. Predictably, the paramedics were called and Rose was rushed to the hospital. Not long after, her friends found out what happened and rushed to the hospital to see her. In the Hospital Rose’s friends burst into her hospital room. They took one look at her face and were astonished, their tears momentarily halted by their shock. “She’s so beautiful!” one girl exclaimed. “She could be sleeping—it doesn’t even look like her neck is broken.” “I know! I had brought my makeup bag, just in case she had some horrible cut on her face or something, but she doesn’t need it.” She paused, reassessing Rose’s face. “Then again, those tubes under her nose look pretty gross. What are they for, anyway?” “No idea,” the others replied. “Hmmm. . . We should really take them off. She’d look perfect otherwise, really. If she was awake she’d totally thank us.” The speaker deftly reached under Rose’s nose and yanked the tubes from her face. The tubes, incidentally, that were supplying her with oxygen. “Perfect,” the girls sighed in unison, jealous of their friend’s beauty. Suddenly, the door flew open and Rose’s eight year old sister Sofia ran into the room. She opened her mouth to speak, but was stopped by the beeping coming from one of the many machines hooked up to Rose’s hospital bed. The machine’s insistent beeping rose in pitch, then faltered, stopping altogether. Everyone glanced at Rose’s body. Her chest had stopped its steady rise and fall. She was dead. Sofia seemed to immediately grasp the situation. Her face crumpled, and tears began to run down her cheeks. One of Rose’s friends burst into tears as well. These tears, though, were not tears of sorrow but ones of joy. “She died looking beautiful. Just what any of us would want. Think about it, this is the last time anyone will ever see Rose’s face, and everyone will remember her exactly like this.” Sofia had not heard anything that was said. She still could not comprehend the idea of her sister being dead. “No!” she said, desperation in her voice. “No! She can’t be dead! Make her wake up!” Rose’s friends glanced uncertainly at each other, confused by the little girl’s sorrow. “Why are you crying? You should be proud of your big sister. She’d want you to be happy for her,” one said soothingly. Her words shocked Sofia. How could these girls that called themselves Rose’s friends be so cold, so uncaring? What didn’t they understand? “BUT SHE’S DEAD!” Sofia screamed. “WHY DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?” The girls glanced down at her, pity on each and every face. “You’ll learn.” Now, at this point, you may be wondering why we ruined Rose’s happy ending by including this tragic scene with Sofia. Yes, the little girl was certainly confused, but what do the actions of one girl matter, after all? Unfortunately, people like her do matter. In your life, you probably know someone like Sofia, someone who just doesn’t understand why you need to look beautiful, each and every day. So, here we continue Sofia’s story, to remind you that there is hope for reform, that even people like Sofia can be brought to see the error of their ways. Sofia’s Story Sofia passed through junior high and half of high school without caring much about her appearance. Rolling out of bed, pulling her hair into a messy ponytail, putting on the first clothes in her closet that her hands touched—that was all fine with her. Ever since her sister’s tragic (well, in Sofia’s opinion) death, Sofia had vowed to never become that superficial. Sofia actually believed that it was character, not appearance, which mattered. Her friends desperately tried to make her see reason, sincerely saying, “But Sofia, it doesn’t matter if you’re a nice person or not—as long as you’re pretty, everyone will want to be around you anyway.” Sofia brushed them off, not even bothering to pay attention to what they were saying. It wasn’t until Sofia was almost seventeen that one of their arguments finally struck home. “Sofia, please! Think of Rose—she died when she was only a few months older than you. But now everyone will always remember her as she was when she was seventeen—beautiful. If you were going to die tomorrow, what would people remember you as?” Sofia paused, letting her friend’s words sink in. She looked in the mirror, and saw herself as she really was. Frizzy hair hastily pulled into a ponytail, bad skin, sweatpants. . . I have to change, she thought to herself. They’re right, what have I been doing these past few years? Now, we are happy to report that Sofia has mastered the art of applying eyeliner while driving. Although, if she happened to slip up and hit a truck—well, at least she’d be ready. Also—if anyone has an idea for a better title, let me know. I’m really bad at thinking of titles. Thanks!