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Mr. Gates, spend your billions here

August 05, 1999

A new millennium is almost upon us, a time for change and renewal, and one way we can all change for the better is to stop this mean, undeserved harangue against Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

I, for one, would like to say that the nerd jokes, the geek references, the rich, out-of-touch-with-normal-life denouncements are not only in poor taste, they are not reflective of the kind, caring, sensitive soul possessed by this king among men.

With nothing more than his own bootstraps, he has pulled himself out of the mire of mere richness to new heights of unimagined wealth, for which I think we should all shout huzzah! And while it may have a glitch here and there, and perhaps has trampled down a stray competitor, his Microsoft Corp. remains in my opinion a grand monument to free enterprise and American ingenuity and can-doism.

Sure, Bill Gates may have ruthlessly destroyed an up-and-coming entrepreneur from time to time, but hey, who hasn't? And I would contend that said entrepreneurs deserved Bill Gates' wrath for knowingly producing products that were superior in every way to Microsoft's. Yes, Bill Gates is a true American hero, and I will defend him to the death.

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Oh, did I mention that Gates has decided to give away $100 billion?

That's right, billion with a B, give with a G. So whatever critical remarks I may have made against Bill Gates in this space in the past, I want to be sure that he knows I was entirely misquoted.

And since I am such a staunch defender of his, I am sure Mr. Gates won't mind a little "constructive criticism" about the areas he has selected to receive his largesse.

According to the New York Daily News, Gates' father says the computer magnate "will donate the fortune he has amassed as the most successful entrepreneur of the Siberia age to help rid the planet of killer diseases like AIDS and malaria."

Now Bill - I can call you Bill, can't I? - you must know that the fire to put an end to malaria once and for all burns as patiently within my own bosom as it does in yours. But aren't there perhaps some other areas where your money might do even more good, such as building a new stadium for the Suns, or renovating the Baldwin House? Or buying me an iBook (No offense).

Because frankly - malaria? Are you nuts?

I mean AIDS I can see, if for no other reason than to end this unconscionable world surplus of quilts. But if you're going to spend a 100B to wipe out a disease, why can't it be an Amurican disease, like lung cancer or tennis elbow?

Bill, I'm a great admirer of your money - I mean of you. Please don't fritter it away on a bunch of undeserving mosquitos.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist

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