During much of the winter there was a gang of youths that hung around at night time outside the local shopping centre. Cropped hair, hooded sweatshirts, joggers and training shoes, they wore the uniform of disadvantage and alienation. Their chief object in gathering seemed to be to swear among themselves and to be abusive to the security man who stood at the entrance of the 24 hour supermarket. Having to listen to what passed for conversation between them left you wondering what words they would have left if they ever needed to express real anger.
One evening I watched them and suddenly felt a great sadness, young men who were meant to be at the prime of their lives were reduced to spending every night loitering in a car park, not much of a life. I actually found myself putting an extra line into my prayers, “and for the guys down in the car park”. I don’t know if the prayers made any difference to the boys at the supermarket doorway, but they did change the way I saw them.
Bombarded by “news” stories of the spoilt heiress, Paris Hilton, I came to despise her as much as the car park loiterers. Her life seemed every bit as pointless as theirs; she seemed to have nothing more to offer than behaviour as coarse as theirs. However, reading a news report on RTE this evening there was suddenly a sense of an exceedingly pointless life.
The Wikipedia entry on Ms Hilton has that sense of having the whole world, but lost her soul. The millionairess cuts a pathetic figure.
As much as it sticks in the craw, perhaps Paris Hilton needs prayers as much as the guys in the car park. Perhaps it won’t change her, but it might make seeing yet another news report more tolerable.