American psyche: The paparazzi

I've had it with the paparazzi. That's why I initiated my Harass-A-Paparazzi Programme. It works like this: first, select your paparazzo of choice (POC). Next, hang out in front of his house with your camera. When he comes out, rush up and take his picture while obnoxiously shouting his name. When he drives away, chase him, following too closely, taking insane risks in traffic. As he approaches a celebrity's house, or a restaurant where a celebrity is eating, or a hospital to which a celebrity has been rushed, photograph him getting out of his car, hopefully without his underwear on.

Go through his garbage. Peek into his windows. Feel free to take photos of his kids, spouse, parents, pets. The main thing is: dwell at the bottom, cutting him zero slack.

My POC is Ernie. Ernie's a fat, bald guy. I have numerous photos of him eating pizza while hunch-walking to his crappo car, cameras around his neck. Based on his garbage, Ernie is lonely: many girly mags, some crumpled-up draft letters to his ex-wife Linda, a cease-and-desist order from her. Ernie would like to be a real photographer, but his only talents are that he's pushy and has no pride and can convince himself that what he's doing is important and "tells the culture about itself".

OK, Ernie, sure it does. I totally agree with you. That's why I'm camped out in your front yard, pal.

Last night Ernie came out of his house, a little buzzed. It was the "anniversary" of his marriage to Linda. Boo-hoo, Ernie! The path was wet and down he went. I got some great shots of that. Also he appeared to be weeping. Tough break, Ernie! You basically asked for this attention when you got into this line of work!

Hey, Ernie, look this way! Ernie! Hey, Ernie!

He got into his car, but I'd removed the battery. I considered giving it back, so I could chase him, but just then Ernie's bathrobe fell open. I could smell money. Snap! Wow, Ernie! Oof, what a cow! Disgusting, but thanks! You just paid my rent.

Ernie stole a car and sped away, still weeping. I followed. At stop lights, Ernie screamed at me, which made some great shots, especially when his dental plate popped out.

Ernie out of control! my story will read. Ernie on drugs? Ernie freak-out leads to Ernie driving off bridge!

Oops. Well, I feel badly about that. But I did get some great shots of Ernie dog-paddling through the thin crust of ice on the frozen river, holding his dental plate in one hand, desperately calling Linda's name.

Had enough, Ernie? Good. Remember our special time together when you go back to work on Monday.

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