I’ve come to feel that it finally is time to reveal the nature of my relationship with Paris Hilton. Laurel and I have been following her “career” (so to speak) with considerable interest, observing with wonder the marvel of how—as others have noted before me—it is so easy in America to be famous for being famous.
While this tidy circularity implies that Paris’ accomplishment has been largely effortless, our research on E and VH1 tells us otherwise: Paris works very hard at partying, and she devotes much time and attention to looking naturally beautiful. Yet Paris is more than a party girl. In addition to her well-known “acting” career, CNN recently reported that Paris also helped direct the artistically-filmed short subject in which she also starred.
Up to now I have kept my personal relationship with Paris Hilton a secret, divulging this fact to only a few close friends and relatives—including my wife, who, thankfully, is understanding of why a fifty-five year old man would be so interested in someone who is much younger than his daughter. One reason, aside from the obvious reason, is that Paris and I are…well, something-or-other-relations, perhaps third cousins once-removed, though I’m not sure about this.
Perhaps some genealogy-expert reader could decipher the true nature of our relationship, so I could confidently speak of Paris Hilton, my dear [whatever]. As Wikipedia reveals, Paris Hilton is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the Hilton Hotel founder. Barron Hilton, Conrad’s son, is her grandfather, and Rick Hilton, Barron Hilton’s son, is her father. I am the great-nephew of Conrad Hilton (Eva Hilton, Conrad’s sister, is my grandmother, and her daughter, Carolyn Hines, is my mother).
This makes Paris and me something-or-other. Here I learned that a second cousin is a child of the cousin of your father or mother. And over here I found an impressive, yet confusing, genealogy chart that leads me to question whether Paris and I have any discernible familial relationship at all. This disturbed me, so I’m hopeful that someone can find a name for what links us. For I’ve become quite attached to the idea that underlying the obvious differences between Paris and me, there is some common genetic ground by which I can see myself in her, and she in me (assuming she ever were to come to know of me, which assumes that she would even have some interest in coming to know of me).
I was fortunate enough to spend quite a bit of time with Conrad Hilton (senior) in my youth, and, like Paris, he certainly liked to party—though not quite in the same fashion as her. When I was twelve or so, I can fondly remember meeting a gorgeous UCLA “co-ed” at his home in Bel-Air who, in retrospect, may not have been the hotel management graduate student that I took her to be at the time. The core of “Uncle Connie,” though, was something rarely observed in today’s business leaders: honesty, faith, trustworthiness. Some of the reader reviews on Amazon of his (out-of-print) book, “Be My Guest,” speak about this. I suspect that he would look aghast on the likes of Donald Trump, since his style of doing business was worlds apart from what passes for “leadership” today.
(Note to con artists: a major difference between Paris Hilton and me is that Paris and her sister are heirs to Hilton corporate assets, while I am not. My mother received $10,000 from her uncle’s estate, and I got nothing. Sadly, not even a Lifetime Guest Pass to his hotels, which I always thought would be a great present for a great-nephew. On a serious note, Conrad Hilton was my godfather, and I like to think that somehow I have benefited from his guidance over the years. He was a rare human being, both as a person and as a businessman.)