Monday, July 23, 2007

What I've Learned From Paris Hilton

I know I'm a little late to the party, but sometimes I have to ruminate – the quaint past time of thinking before speaking – and Paris Hilton gives me a lot to think about. For starters, exactly what does one have to do to get disowned from the Hilton family? If not pornography or jail time then what? Murder? The bar is set a little higher in my family.

I broke a piece of my mom's good china once. I had to go live with my Grandmother for a little while. Oh they called it "spending the Summer" but I know what the real deal was. I was exiled for my own safety.

If I ever got the mind numbingly bad idea to make a sex tape with my boyfriend, people would be more interested in the sequel: surgeons desperately trying to remove my mother's foot from my ass. The director's cut of said sequel – showing how the aforementioned foot got lodged in my colon – would be a hit on You Tube.

When Paris went to jail, I was truly amazed that her parents went to visit her. I know my parents love me, but they would never come see me behind bars. From childhood, they made it clear that they were saving their hard earned money for tuition, not bail. You’re allowed one phone call when you get arrested, but I would be too embarrassed to call my parents. I would do my time and pretend I’d been on vacation.

If my family found out, they would never forget. My family forgets nothing. Even if I went on to find a cure for Cancer, I'd always be known as the ex-con porn star, and they’d find a way to bring it up every Christmas. The threat of perennial family humiliation is a great incentive to stay on the straight and narrow.

My bewilderment at Paris Hilton’s behavior tells me a lot about myself: my expectations of the upper classes are too high. I’ve always assumed that people with money would also naturally have class and propriety. Not having to worry about the basics of food, clothing and shelter, frees them to move up The Hierarchy of Needs towards self actualization and morality, doesn’t it? Then again, maybe not.

I see now these are my hopes and expectations. Naively I’ve put too much faith in the power of money. In Paris’ case instead leading to enlightenment, it has paved the path to self indulgence complete with video equipment, fast cars and an infuriating air of egotistical entitlement.

Money doesn’t confer standards and values. I may not come from money, but the self respect they instilled in me is measured in more than mere dollars. Don’t get me wrong, I still wish I was rich, but all things being equal, I’d be boring rich: no videos, no crashed cars, no jail time and no awkward Christmas dinners.

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