My friend Robin said she wouldn't touch the Paris Hilton story (stories) with a 10-ft pole. My feeling is that if you can guarantee me a pole of at least 10 feet, I'll take it on. And I swear, what you are about to read has nothing whatsoever to do with having spent a night, Fajita Friday I believe it was called, in the Albuquerque Hilton last July. Like so many of the Hilton Hotels, this one was a privately owned franchise. A true half-star hotel. Nevertheless, I think we all need to step back a pace and put our Fairness Caps on. I think we need to put it all in perspective. I think...well, here's a place to start: Paris Hilton is 26 years old.
By the age of 26, the following people had achieved the following:
American anthropologist Margaret Mead wrote her famous dissertation, Coming of Age in Samoa, which claimed that in some societies adolescence is not a particularly difficult time.
Albert Einstein published five major research papers in a German physics journal, fundamentally changing man's view of the universe and leading to such inventions as television and the atomic bomb.
Benjamin Franklin published the first edition of Poor Richard's Almanac, which was to play a large role in molding the diverse American character.
Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Chereshkova became the first woman to travel in space.
College dropout Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple Computer.
Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, revolutionizing the economies of the United States and Britain.
Antoine Joseph Sax invented the brass saxophone.
"Johnny Appleseed" brought apple seeds to the Ohio Valley.
Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Italy.
British ethologist Jane Goodall set up camp in the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve on Lake Tanganyika and began studying the lives of chimpanzees.
Ken Kesey published his first novel, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Thomas Pynchon published V., for which he won the William Faulkner First Novel Award.
I found this list, called Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age, and the neat thing about this little widget is you can put in your age. I don't actually know what Mz. Hilton has accomplished, but I was amused to read she told Barbara Walters that she was going to "stop acting dumb." I'm telling you: Once you get the "act as if" thing down, there's nothing you can't do.
I'm not sure what the list says about Mz. Hilton, but it sure was depressing to me about me! Somewhere on that same site there's a link to a similar widget called Late Starters. The one I recall is something about Harlan Sanders turning a greasy spoon into Kentucky Fried Chicken at the age of 65. That should make everyone, including Hilton, feel bettah.
But, let's be honest here. Paris is no longer the story: Her sister Nicki is. Yes she is. The papparotters follow her to and from the Los Angeles county lockup when she goes to visit her favorite felon. They click their cameras, and they scream at her. "How's Paris, Nicki?" they yell in unison, or, alternately, staccato-like, verbal Gatling guns rat-tat-tatting one after the other.
But Nicki is Paris' sister, let there be no doubt. "She's being strong," she answered to all the yells, clicks, catcalls and rat tats.
Hmmm. Being strong. Although I'm not entirely sure I remember being 26, I think "being strong" is probably a lot better than I was doing at that age. And neither of my sisters were ever any good at spin.
"What is wrong with you? Get a grip," they would say.
Thanks, Mary, thanks Liz. Better to have a sister who tells you the truth than handlers who don't. By the way, I don't know what was wrong with me, but I got a grip and proceeded forward as if I had one---a grip, I mean. By the time I actually got a grip, why I hadn't got one sooner no longer really mattered. I don't know if Nicki should tell (or has told) Paris to get a grip....I'm just saying.