By LARRY WOODY
If you're like me you've probably had trouble sleeping here lately, worrying about the terrible ordeals confronting some of our Beautiful People.
More and more of Hollywood's rich & famous are complaining about being hounded by paparazzi anytime they show their beautiful mugs in public.
The poor things.
Actress Halle Berry pitched a hissy over having her picture snapped as she walked down the street. I caught Ms. Berry's performance with Billy Bob Thornton in a movie called "Monster's Ball" and she certainly didn't seem camera-shy in some of those lens-fogging scenes.
A bodyguard for Justin Bieber got so angry at a photographer that he punched him. Turned out it was all a mistake -- the photographer was simply taking a mug shot of the Bieb down at the police station.
Alex Baldwin is famous for taking swipes at cameramen who get in his way. He wants to be left alone to pursue his rarified cinematic art -- and also to shamelessly shill for a credit card outfit.
I'm always amused by celebrities' fine whine. They want to be fawned over, pampered, idolized and adored by the public when it's to their advantage -- at the box office, for example, or when preening and parading on the Red Carpet -- then be treated like Joe Sixpack and Wanda Wafflehouse when they don't want to be bothered.
The other night I came across a woman in tears on one of those entertainment channels. I stopped to see what was the matter -- I thought maybe her dog had got run over, or her double-wide had been repossessed.
But no, she was a Major Hollywood Celebrity, blubbering about how wretched her life has been made by the pesky paparazzi. She said she couldn't dart from her mansion to her Rolls without having to stiff-arm her way through a pack of pesky paparazzi.
Well, here's a news flash for her: I had no idea who she was. She should have been flattered that a photographer recognized her.
Can even celebrities be that dense? Do they think they can be big-time movie stars, yet not draw a stare or cause a stir when they appear in public. Or are they simply that aloof from reality?
They demand to be paid millions of dollars to have the public gaze at them on the screen, but don't want to be bothered by the unwashed masses in real life.
If the Hollywood fakes and flakes REALLY want to be treated like an average person, they could try living like one. If Britney Spears want to duck the photographers, she can work the night shift at the Pizza Hut. No paparazzi will ambush her when she goes out to swab the grease trap.
And if Alex Baldwin is fed up with the public glare, perhaps he should hire on with a roofing company. Let him carry 50-pound slabs of shingles up a two-story ladder, shivering in the winter and sweltering in the summer.
Or Alex could pull a shift on a factory blast furnace as I did for a couple of summers while working my way through school. (Working one's way through school -- another novel concept.) I don't recall any paparazzi lurking around the blast furnace.
Most so-called celebrities are petted, pampered and protected to the point that they have no clue about real life outside their insulated little make-believe bubble. I doubt that Cher could order a Big Mac at a drive-thru.
Let those over-priced prima donnas try dealing with the hardships and aggravations of ordinary life -- from traffic snarls and back-breaking jobs, to overdue rent and late payments on an old clinker that won't start.
If they did, they'd quickly discover that there's much worse things in life than getting their picture taken.