A lot of us want to get around credit card debt. First, we opt to ignore it. Sometimes, people even go to the trouble of contesting valid charges, such as late fees or transfer fees. Finally, we’re willing to break down and settle, only after we’re way behind and we’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
Now you know how Paris Hilton feels. She may be rich, but she’s landed her public image into debt. “I feel like the media portrays me in a way that I’m not,” she told a reporter on the 3rd of June, only hours before she was to enter a Los Angeles County Correctional Facility. “I did have the choice to go to a pay jail,” she confirmed, but she added however that “I wanted to go to county; to show that I can do it.” She was quite clear that she wasn’t going to be expecting any perks, even revealing “I’m really scared, but I’m ready to do this,” and emphasizing, “If I’m going to do the time, I’m going to do it the right way.”
Of course, the biggest reason why she is going to do the time now is because she has not been doing things the right way. The circumstances which have led up to her incarceration were fairly tame to begin with, but were magnified by her own careless inattention. She was pulled over by police in September of 2006 for driving while intoxicated. While her breathalizer test confirmed her intoxication, the results of the test registered at the absolute minimum level to warrant an rrest in the state of California; 0.08 percent. So clearly, she hadn’t been binge drinking and driving recklessly as a result. According to Hilton, she had only had a single Margarita, and was guilty of a little careless speeding while on her way to buy a burger. ” Everything I do is blown out of proportion,” she told reporters after the arrest, “It really hurts my feelings.”
Matters were further complicated when Hilton violated the terms of her probation by driving with a suspended licensce. She chalked this up as a misunderstanding, and vowed, ” from now on I’m going to pay complete attention to everything.” Not exactly a very realistic goal.
Clearly, Hilton sometimes perceives herself as the unfair victim of the media, but her efforts to exonerate herself have only demonstrated her unwillingness to admit responsibility for her actions. In an appeal addressed to California Governor Arnold Scwartzeneger through an online petition, a representative for Paris states, “the American public who support Paris are shocked, dismayed and appalled by how Paris has been the person to be used as an example that drunk driving is wrong.” Should she is not used as an example? Paparazzi had been using her for quite some time to show how cool being drunk in a car was. Why not actually send a better message to the world by showing how wrong it is? That won’t hurt, will it?
Paris seems to be concluding that perhaps it’s good that she go ahead and face her punishment. Before entering jail, she stated that in the last couple of weeks “I’ve had a lot of time alone to think and reflect on my life, and relalize what’s most important,” and she has gained strength by realizing that her actions can have a positive effect on others if she tries to improve in the weak areas of her life. “I hope that I’m an example to other young people when they make decisions,” she said about admitting herself to jail.
Early in the morning on June 7, 2007, Paris is returning home from what must not have been a very pleasurable experience in jail. Because of medical concerns, she is being released. “I can’t specifically talk about the medical situation other than to say that, yes, it played a part in this,” said sherrif’s spokesman Steve Whitmore to the Associated Press, adding that Paris had exihibited good behavior while visiting the correctional facility, “She was focused; she was cooperative.”
She will have 40 more days to serve her sentence at home.
Just 26, she’s learning from experience like the rest of us. Debts do not disappear overnight. Even if your debt was to be magically erased, and you won the lottery on the same day, you would only end up in the same situation again if you didn’t grow wiser with money mangement.
Managing your public image is a chore that requires focus, energy, and wisdom that is only gained little by little through experience.