According to Google Maps, I live 1.2 miles from the Cirque Lodge rehab facility in central Utah. It used to be the Osmond family's film and television studio and it's the rehab that all the 'stars' manage to end up at. To tell the truth, I've never paid much attention to it. One of Adam Sandler's buddies who went there used to come into the coffee shop I frequent. I'd heard that Mary Kate Olson (or was it Ashley? I can't tell the difference) was there for a time and I'd heard of 'sightings', but I never had a run in with her and didn't care to. But now Lindsay Lohan is at the facility and it seems as though the world in my community has gone topsy-turvey (even more-so than when they're decrying abortion and birth control as the cause of illegal immigration.)
At a friend's house the other day, the TV was set to Entertainment Tonight (or was it Inside Edition? I can't tell the difference) and the Gold's Gym I workout at was on TV.
"Why?" I wondered.
Well, apparently Lindsay Lohan had purchased a session in a tanning booth and a spray-on tan there.
This wasn't even a Lindsay sighting, this was a reporter interviewing people in my hometown about where she'd been. "These we're the products she bought. This was the tanning bed she used, employees can't tell me if she tanned in the nude or not, she left her shoes here," and so on and on and on.
They interviewed the employees, shot close-ups of products she bought and offered to be back with more Lindsay in Utah sightings.
But shortly after that, I'd started to hear stories.
You see, it went around that a lady (what lady? I don't know, but I've heard this from a couple of different people) had taken a picture of Lindsey Lohan coming out of a gas station (I've seen a picture of her coming out of the gas station four blocks from my house so I assume that part's true) and was going to sell them to the tabloids. This is where the story crosses into hearsay. I've been told that this nameless lady had been offered upwards of $250,000 for her picture of Lindsay Lohan. No one I talked to seem to know who the bidder was, but everyone speculated US Weekly.
I don't know anything about this woman, but in my minds eye, I imagine her to be this middle class mother with three kids, maybe she's a single mom. Maybe she's got a trunk full of groceries she can't afford and a stack of medical bills she can't pay for at home. (I've got an overactive imagination.) So, this single mother, she happened to be pulling out of a gas station with a camera in her hand. Suddenly, Lindsay Lohan walks by, she snaps a picture and she's offered enough money to support her family in luxury for the next few years.
Isn't that the American dream? This is the Horatio Alger story of our times, isn't it? It's all the wealth and reward of days gone by, but with none of toil, sweat and perseverance. Who really wants to toil, sweat or persevere in George Bush's America? Sweating and toiling is for legally documented migrant workers, isn't it?
I don't know if someone really got paid a quarter of a million dollars for a photo of Lindsey Lohan in front of a gas station, but who wouldn't want to believe that? If you're a working class stiff and you happen to be in the right place at the right time and some preposterous scandal rag offered you that much money for a picture you'd snapped, you'd take it in a second, wouldn't you?
I'm sure most would, regardless of whose privacy is invaded. In fact, I've set Lindsay Lohan traps all about town. They're very much like road runner traps, replete with signs promising free drugs and alcohol. When she triggers the trap the cameras roll and, hopefully, so will the cash.
So, maybe we can't blame the paparazzi all the time, maybe we should blame the people who buy the magazines that buy the pictures at prices that exorbitant that cause photographers and nameless single mothers to take up arms with cameras.
But I suppose that's just the free market at work and everyone in town should be sure to have a camera within arms reach at all times until Lindsay manages to become rehabilitated and goes home.
Or just until she goes on a three night bender at one of the two bars in Provo and crashes her SUV into a Mormon church.
(Bryan Young blogs daily at This Divided State, and this week he'll be posting the photos from his Lindsay Lohan traps. So far, he's caught a badger and a 38-year old Greek marathon runner on camera.)
Follow Bryan Young on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BigShinyRobot