Somewhere, if only in the depths of your pockets, you have to find a crumb of sympathy for Paris Hilton. This week, the hotel heiress and reality TV star has, not for the first time in her life, found herself publicly laid bare across the Internet. Last time, it was a home sex video dubbed "One Night in Paris," recorded for posterity with her former nocturnal companion, Rick Solomons, which was stolen and sold on for $4.6 million. This time, it was the details of her mobile phone address book, including the numbers and e-mail addresses of some 500 of her closest acquaintances -- Christina Aguilera, Pamela Anderson and the intriguingly named Boy Wonder among them.
Hilton's T-Mobile Sidekick device was seemingly hacked into on the weekend and its contents spread-eagled across the World Wide Web, along with a message from the hackers: "I'm Sorry Bitch :) GG FGT SLT BTCH! HACKED BY THE NIGGAS AT DFNCTSC." Naturally, the Secret Service has been in hot pursuit, shutting down offending Web sites wherever possible, though one fears that this is a task akin to keeping moles off one's garden lawn: They keep popping up again. The celebrity world has been in mild chaos ever since.
One imagines Hilton is bereft without her mobile. Indeed, in the seminal "One Night in Paris," she was famously shown answering her phone in flagrante. From this we can conclude one of two things: a) that Solomons does not give good conversation; or b) that Paris' mobile is enormously important to her.
After a brief but intriguing glimpse into the life of the world's premier party girl, one might well assume the latter. Hilton's life is sprawled across her address book -- numbers for her favorite restaurants, airlines, bars, not to mention parents, doctors and celebrity companions. There are photos from her phone's built-in camera showing blurred kisses, diary notes reminding her to book spray tans and private jets to Vegas, take morning-after pills and tell her friends the latest gossip about "Jess trying to bone JT," alongside such enthralling messages as: "Welcome back to gamma? I think gamsy wants a little kiss Its a gamma tradition Gamsy is waiting," and "House house fix it buzz kill," not to mention: "Do you wanna leave soon, ill pretend I have 2 go pee and u wait 3 mins than come by yourself to the back entrance."
But after close examination of the contents of Hilton's Sidekick, questions remain. Namely, who is the mysterious Dr. Pat? Who are Betty Davis Eyes, Egplant Dike-ass and Conor Fux? Would Christina Aguilera object to being called at 9 in the morning? Is that Darius from Pop Idol? And was Eminem bluffing about changing his number? There was only one way to answer these questions, and that was to call everyone in Paris' directory and darned well ask them.
Initially, this does not prove very fruitful. I try Paris at home, but the telephone rings and rings and rings without answer. It's the same at Victoria Gotti's. Perhaps they are out together, enjoying a latte, a slice of carrot cake and a bit of a chat. I call Paris' mom and her sister, Nicky, but both numbers appear to have been disconnected. It's a similar situation with Eminem, Anna Kournikova, Avril Lavigne, Pharrell, Lil John, Andy Roddick, Mark Philippoussis, Ashlee Simpson and Bijou Phillips.
I try Hollywood action hero Vin Diesel. The call goes straight to voice mail: "Hey, it's Vin Diesel," growls the message. "I'm a really bad actor. And a total douche bag. Leave a message." I want to ask Vin what a douche bag is, but his voice mail is full. As is Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst's, but he gives us the option of paging him. I do, but he doesn't call back. Actress Lindsay Lohan has yet to get back to us, but I did enjoy her message: "BURRRRRP I'm a whore ... BURRRRRP I'm a whore ... Leave your message after the tone."
Despite the not unlikely prospect that these messages have been tampered with, I remain fundamentally optimistic about the enterprise. Model Amber Valetta sounds more promising, and may yet return my call. "I'll be out of town 'til March 3rd," she purrs in her voice message, "so if you'd like to leave a message, please do so. If it's urgent, please say so. Otherwise I'll talk to you when I get back." Valetta laughs coquettishly before adding, "Have the best day." "Hi, Amber," I say, "it's me. I got your number off Paris and thought I'd just call for a chat ... about ... stuff ... you know?"
But what do I have to say to supermodels and Hollywood superstars? Sure, it's easy to be dazzled by the famous names, the Pammie Andersons, the Ashlee Simpsons, but I figure we have very little in common, apart from Paris, obviously. We'll always have Paris.
So I try a new tack and aim for the slightly less famous. Just what kind of doctor is Randy Harris? Plastic surgeon, gynecologist, common or garden G.P.? "Thank you for calling the office of Dr. Randy Harris," sing-songs the answering machine. "If this is a life-threatening emergency, please hang up and call 911. If your call is an emergency or if you are a patient in labor, press 2." I really, really want to speak to Dr. Randy, but decide that it is not, strictly speaking, an emergency. Instead I call Dr. Pat. "Hi, you've reached the office of Dr. Pat. The office is now closed." The recording runs through options for emergency calls, how to leave a message and which button to press for the hot line for production companies with an urgent medical-related query. Only in Hollywood.
The anonymous-sounding Rachel, Paige, "Sh" and X have all barred incoming calls, so I try Sonya. After three rings she answers. "Sonya?" I inquire. "HULLO?" she bellows. She is somewhere noisy -- pop music is blaring and, perhaps, a hair dryer. "Sonya?" I say again. "HULLO?" "Hi, Sonya, it's Laura from London." There is a pause. "Oh, hi!" she says, her voice a delightful blend of puzzlement and enthusiasm. "How are you doing?" I ask. "I'm fine. Errr, what is this regarding?" Well, I'm just calling Paris Hilton's friends to see how they are today. "Oh well, I'm fine. Good," she says politely, before evidently being struck by the weirdness of my call. "Errr. Thanks. Bye." She hangs up.
I am spurred by this success, and dial a number for what Paris has labeled "Customer care." It is the customer support line for T-Mobile. "Stacey speaking, how can I help you today?" a voice says sunnily. I explain my endeavor to Stacey and ask how her day is. "It's going good, thank you." Has she been doing anything of note? "I'm just working, answering phones," she answers brightly, before explaining that she finishes work at 4.30 and will then head home to look after her 6-month-old daughter. Has Paris called today, I wonder? "No," she says. "I haven't had any interesting calls today ... Anyway," she adds, politely but firmly, "it was nice talking to you." "Thank you, Stacey," I say. "It was nice talking to you, too. And if you see her, send my regards to Paris."