Saturday, October 9, 2010

We’ll Always Have Paris

By Michael

“Smoke wafting from a Cadillac Escalade on the Las Vegas Strip ignited Paris Hilton's latest legal troubles late Friday, when a motorcycle officer who suspected the smell was marijuana stopped the vehicle and police say a bag of cocaine fell out of the 29-year-old socialite's purse. As . . . a crowd gathered on the busy neon-lit Strip, Hilton asked to go into the Wynn Resort for privacy. ‘Miss Hilton pulled out a tube of lip balm,’ [a police spokesman said]. ‘At the same time . . . a bindle of cocaine in a plastic bag came out of her purse’ in plain view of police in the room” (Associated Press, 28 August 2010).

Now, I wasn’t there – in the Cadillac Escalade or at the Wynn Resort – and admittedly the circumstances may have been more complicated than the AP report suggests, but it seems to me that Paris Hilton made a couple of avoidable mistakes. First, if you are a media magnet, surrounded by a crowd of paparazzi (every member of whom hopes to photograph you smoking pot) and you already have a police record for possession of illegal drugs and a motorcycle cop is riding behind your Cadillac Escalade, don’t light the joint. Second, if you throw caution to the wind and light the joint anyway and the motorcycle cop pulls you over and crowds of paparazzi and interested spectators surround you and you talk the police into letting you slip inside a resort for privacy, skip the lip gloss.

So, Paris made stupid mistakes. Stupid, stupid, stupid mistakes. But, hey, who’s perfect? Who hasn’t made mistakes? Who isn’t stupid? If we were Paris Hilton, who among us wouldn’t have put on lip gloss in similar circumstances? And if our “bindle of cocaine” failed to fall out of our purses while we were doing so, who among us wouldn’t have tried our eye shadow just to see what would happen?

But (speaking personally now) I’m not Paris Hilton, and the paparazzi have yet to take interest in my own stupid mistakes (none of which have involved Las Vegas and a Cadillac Escalade, though I could tell stories about Chicago and a rusting Mercury Capri). The closest that I’ve come to having my mistakes aired publicly has been seeing the mistakes of my fictional private investigator Joe Kozmarski get into print in my books. Like me, Joe is mostly small potatoes and the press rarely pays attention to him – except when he screws up in especially big ways. If the press were paying attention, though, these are some of the headlines they might run:

Drunk PI Crashes into Newsstand

PI Fathers His Own Nephew

PI Breaks Kitchen Disposal with Vibrator

PI Falls from Window while High on Xanax

PI Stands By as Best Fried Is Shot

None of the mistakes is Joe’s own fault, of course. He didn’t remember the newsstand having been on that particular corner. Someone else slipped him the Xanax. The vibrator wasn’t his. We’ve heard these excuses before and have tired of them, and so, Joe generally doesn’t bother making them. Anyway, his best defense, if he were interested in raising one, would be much simpler: he has done nothing that Paris Hilton wouldn’t do.

14 comments:

Meredith Cole said...

"PI Breaks Kitchen Disposal with Vibrator"??? Inquiring minds want to know more, Michael!

I don't know how people like Paris Hilton deal living under constant scrutiny. But in her case, I'm not sure how she knows how to live without constant attention. The Paris version of a tree falling in the forest: would her drug habit really exist without a headline in US Weekly?

Michael Wiley said...

That's in The Bad Kitty Lounge, Meredith -- as you might imagine, a scene crucial to the plot.

I like your suggestion about celebrity making the drug habit exist. I've just been writing a book review of a new biography of Thomas De Quincey (who wrote Confessions of an English Opium-Eater), and his celebrity and addiction definitely fed each other.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Ah the folly of celebrity! Sometimes you just get a jones for lip gloss and then what's to be done?

How did the item find its way into the garbage disposal to begin with? I can't imagine the experience was good for either appliance...

Michael Wiley said...

You've got to read the thing, don't you see? Otherwise, what good is a teaser? (Actually, I'll tell you and Meredith the story at Bouchercon. And here's the further teaser: it's based -- very loosely -- on a true story.)

Congratulations on the Sun-Times discussion of IDRAKULA, Rebecca. That's the kind of publicity we like.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks, Michael!

So far, IDRAKULA has been getting interesting publicity.And a little bird told me that next week will be very interesting for The Drak.

Michael Wiley said...

Cool -- I'm looking forward to next week for a variety of reasons, then.

Gabi said...

Hasn't everyone broken a disposal that way? They're like a plunger, right? I mean, what else would you use one for?

Shane Gericke said...

I have to wonder how much of this Paris Hilton stuff is her being stupid, or her being smart enough to keep her name in the headlines at all times. Most celebrity garbage that hits TV and the papers are, for the most part, publicity stunts.

I read that very story in my Sun-Times about iDrak, Rebecca/Bekka. Pity they didn't add more background about the book in addition to the business slant about the publisher. But hey, you were in the lead, which is all anyone reads anyway!

Michael Wiley said...

Good point, Gabi. Of course, in our house it's not just the disposal: it's the toaster and the coffee maker too. Thank goodness we bought the more durable waffle iron, though.

Michael Wiley said...

I think you're right, Shane. It's a steep price to pay to get on a reality show, though. There must be easier ways . . . like pretending that your six-year-old son has floated away on a giant helium balloon.

Gabi said...

I've gotten a little confused and a lot disquieted. We are talking about using these things in the disposal and not as a vibrator right? Double waffle iron? I'd never judge but ouch!

Shane Gericke said...

Michael, so true, the balloon boy was one of the great 15-minutes of our generation.

And Gabi, waffle irons? Ouch indeed. Particularly if they're plugged in, though that undoubtedly has happened to someone somewhere. I think humanity has slept with every single item in the Sears catalog at some point.

Michael Wiley said...

Well, maybe it's just me, but I don't recommend putting them into ANY kitchen appliance, especially not one that cuts, churns, or cooks. On the other hand, if careful, one could probably use a vibrator to make a martini without bruising the gin. . . . Not that I've tried this . . . and not that I would. (I stick mostly to bourbon.)

Michael Wiley said...

Oh, and it gets dropped into a disposal by someone who's embarrassed and trying to hide it.