It’s easy to poke fun at Bill Gates, the richest man on the
planet. The Microsoft billionaire has been the butt of
thousands of jokes and one-liners. As an old girlfriend
said, “I used to call him Mr. Microsoft, but it made him
rather self-conscious, especially in the bedroom.”

When Gates was in high school, none of the girls wanted to
date him. Not because he looked like a nerd, but because he
was president and founder of the Nerd Club. He tried to ask
one girl out, but she didn’t understand what he meant when
he said, “Let’s interface tonight.” It didn’t help matters
when he tried to entice her: “If you come home, I’ll show
you my floppy.”

Gates may not have been smooth with the ladies, but he knew
how to connect with computers, and before long he had
created some software, founded a company and was well on his
way to world domination. The computer world, if not the real
world, was soon bowing to him. If Microsoft wasn’t quite a
monopoly, then Gates at least owned every hotel on Boardwalk
and Park Place. He was often accused of unfair business
practices, which is like accusing George Foreman of having
an appetite.

How rich is Bill Gates? He’s so rich, he can buy every
member of Congress. With enough money left over to give
Martha Stewart a lifetime supply of Oil of Olay.

He’s so rich, he can afford his own island. And change its
name to Great Bill-tain.

He’s so rich, he can put a large Microsoft logo on Venus.
And an even bigger logo on Serena.

His house in Washington state is worth more than $100
million. It makes the White House look like a hut in
Botswana. (With a grinning Bush man in charge.) A 21st
century high-tech house, it’s full of modern amenities, such
as a 17-by-60-foot swimming pool that plays music
underwater, a reception hall that seats 150 people and an
underground shelter that allows the maids and babysitters to
hide from immigration.

Yes, it’s easy to poke fun at Bill Gates. What he’s doing is
much harder: Giving his dough away. Well, a big lump of it
anyway, enough to make the world’s biggest pizza — or as
George Foreman would say, “A nice snack.”

Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he and his
wife have pledged more than $7 billion for various causes
and put a sharp focus on fighting diseases in poor
countries. They recently tripled their funding for
tuberculosis eradication to $900 million over the next
decade, hoping to save as many as 14 million lives. That’s a
lot of people, folks, almost an entire neighborhood in
China.

When the world’s richest man gives money away, there are
bound to be skeptics, people who question his motives. Is he
just giving himself more tax deductions? Is he trying to
create goodwill to offset Microsoft’s poor image? Is he
tired of receiving “Dear Uncle Bill” letters from those
long-lost nephews in Nigeria?

Whatever his motives, he’s doing the right thing: trying to
help the underprivileged.

How rich is he? He’s so rich, he can do what many countries
can’t: provide hope for their citizens. And to them, there’s
no one bigger than Mr. Microsoft.
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(c) Copyright 2006 Melvin Durai. . All Rights Reserved.
MelvinDurai.com

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