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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 02/13/2007

Anna Nicole's Paper Trail

By Liz Kelly

In some random episode of "The Simpsons" from years ago Homer is watching a reasonable facsimile of "Married With Children" in which the punch line of every scene is the Al Bundy character reaching over and flushing a toilet. Doing its usual bang-up job of distilling popular culture down to its essence, "The Simpsons" is helping us to understand that the particular genius of at least one sitcom is nothing more than potty humor. To quote Homer: It's funny 'cause it's true.


It was this image of a flushing toilet that came back to me when I was looking through wire photos related to the Anna Nicole Smith story. I came across the photo you see to the right, described in its wire service caption (and I paraphrase) as a roll of toilet paper from a suite at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino similar to the one that Anna Nicole Smith stayed in when she collapsed and died. To quote Anna Nicole Smith's reality show: "It's not supposed to be funny... it just is."


For the past little while, I've been trying to wrap my head around the significance of this artifact -- a roll of toilet tissue sporting the blunt message "Roll with it, baby" -- and coming up empty.

Beyond yesterday's dissection of why Smith's death is front page news there is the more disturbing question of why a photo like this would even be taken (it was meant to accompany an AP story about Smith's final hours). Unlike similarly crass photos of Smith's mini-fridge, there is no telltale clue here -- no methadone bottle peeking out to give us an "aha!" moment, no reflection of a Bahamian official partying with the recently deceased.

Then it hit me -- this is Homer's flushing toilet, the distillation of a story that is quickly turning into a many-headed Hydra monster of paternity suits, estate battles and hard-to-stomach details.

This picture is worth a thousand words. Or at least two: [roll with it, baby] happens.


I'm curious: What about the Anna Nicole Smith story draws (or repels) you? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

By Liz Kelly  | February 13, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Anna Nicole Smith  
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Next: Morning Mix: Heather Mills to Dance with the Stars?

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