I Don't Love Paris in the Fall

It's a sad day when I come back from a long weekend to find 859 emails waiting for me. Ten were from friends and family, 15 were newsletters I care about, and most of the others wanted to sell me something. Unlike during the good old days of the Internet -- which is defined as the years between the time you first went online and the day your mother figured out how to forward jokes -- none of them tried to sell me a cable descrambler, pills to make my penis larger, cream to make my breasts bigger, or a share in the $20 million some stupid oil company forgot it left in a Nigerian bank account. We're in a new age -- almost every one of them wanted me to buy a video of Paris Hilton having sex. Don't worry, I didn't do it. I'm much more interested in saving my money so one day I can have sex in the Paris Hilton.

I'm not sure what the fascination is with a young, privileged brat who's named after a family-owned hotel near the Eiffel Tower. After all, it's not as if every newspaper, magazine, and TV channel is wasting gobs of ink and airtime telling us about the comings and goings of Paris' friend, Waco Travelodge. While it's true Paris has done some photo modeling for men's magazines, worn a bikini in the movie Wonderland, and stretched her acting abilities by playing a dancer in a rave scene in The Cat in The Hat, the reality is she's famous for being famous. And of course for having dated Leonardo DiCaprio, Oscar De La Hoya, and Shannon Dougherty's ex. You know, the one with the video camera. She even managed to parlay her Warholian fame into a spot on the upcoming Fox TV series, The Simple Life, in which she and Lionel Richie's daughter live on a farm for a few weeks and Paris does her best Jessica Simpson imitation by wondering whether Wal-Mart is "where they sell wall stuff." Honestly. Please, don't anyone hand her a can of tuna.

She's certainly not the first person to be famous for being famous. Kato Kaelin, Jessica Hahn, and Angelyne immediately come to mind. While Kato parlayed his housesitting into a TV career that included playing himself on Celebrity Bootcamp, It's Like, You Know, and the runaway-from-it hit Celebrity Cram, and Jessica Hahn went from sleeping with preachers to Married With Children, Angelyne is actually trying to make something of her fame. Not content to drive her pink Corvette and give private tours of Tinseltown, last year she ran for mayor of Hollywood -- a position, incidentally, that exists in Florida but not in California -- as well as governor in the recall election, where she not only lost to Arnold, but to porn star Mary Carey, Gallagher, Gary Coleman, and 25 other candidates. I hope Paris Hilton is paying attention.

The problem with being famous is that it's addictive. People who are famous want to stay that way, while those of us who aren't want to be. So what are the odds that most of us will ever see the 15 minutes of fame Andy Warhol told us we'd get? According to the U.S. Census Bureau (motto: "We count, you don't."), there are 6.3 billion people in the world. Assuming that, thanks to E! Online, Extra, and Celebrity Justice, a few thousand people can be famous at the same time, I figure it could take as long as 90 years before you or I get our turn. I don't know about you, but I can't see waiting that long for people to become interested in the sex video I'm thinking about shooting. At least I can console myself with the thought that I'll look better in it than I would were I to wait until my fame slot comes up to shoot it. I hope.

If you just can't wait to be famous, you might want to go to www.beingfamous.com. This is a web site which will post your photo, allowing you to be famous for 24 straight, uninterrupted hours. The only problem is, that's too long. If each person who does this takes 15-minute slots away from 95 other people, that could push my turn back even farther. That's why I'm glad I found www.guesswhosfamous.com. This site lets you create a fake news story about yourself that looks like it's posted on the CNN, Fox news, USA Today, or ABC news web site. It's not real, but neither is most of Anna Nicole Smith, and that hasn't stopped her from being famous for much longer than she deserves.

One thing that's important to remember when you do get your window of fame is to plan for the future. No, you shouldn't run out and have political buttons made up. What you should do is sign some photographs of yourself and immediately sell them on eBay. Right now signed photos of Paris Hilton are going for between $19 and $50, while ones of Angelyne are $35. The important thing is to sell them while you're hot and people remember you. After all, the only thing recently sold with Charles Nelson Reilly's autograph was an old contract, and it went for a whopping $9.99. And there's nothing with either Kato's or Jessica's signature. Fame is fleeting. Paris, cash in while you can.

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