I’ve become obsessed with Bill Gates. Anyone who knows me knows how long it takes me to read a book because I have an attention span like a strobe light – it turns off and on quickly and doesn’t last that long. I take books and read about 3 at a time but at a speed that takes as long as it takes most people to read 10 books. Twice. I’m too busy having fun to sit down and read ok! I guess that’s why I done so shit in uni, because I can’t be expected to sit and read one book all day. I would have done better if I took 3 degrees over 10 years at the same time I guess.

I’ve been reading Gates’ sorta-biography in which he predicts the future Nostradamus-style. I could only afford the 1996 edition though, so I’m actually reading about what’s already happened in the past but in the future tense, an experience similar to reading that paedophiles work, Arthur C. Clarke, who wrote the fantastic 2001 then went to Sri Lanka to abuse children. Allegedly. The guy was a physicist and a great writer but not all physicists have ALL his attributes although I’ll confess to having 2 of his talents. No officer it’s Bags you want to put the handcuffs on. I’m an innocent man.

Mister William H. Gates III is a comedian. He doesn’t intend to be a funny man, after all he is a techie and physically unable to aspire to these things (Yes this is a crack aimed at Big H, C++ and Moola) but is nonetheless very amusing in his own way. In the same way that Mr Clarke brings shame to all physicists, Mr Gates should have you boys hanging your heads in shame. Okay then maybe it’s not exactly the same way…

Billy grew up in Seattle, where he met Paul Allen, with whom he later co-founded Microsoft and he fondly recalls that the two had much in common:

”I was fortunate. I grew up in a family that encouraged children to ask questions. And I was lucky in my early teens to become friends with Paul Allen. Soon after I’d met Paul, we had a conversation about gasoline. I’d been curious about it, and I wanted to know exactly how it was that gasoline could power a car. I’d found a book on the subject, but it was confusing. Gasoline was one of the subjects Paul understood, and he explained it to me in a way that made it interesting and understandable. You could say that my curiosity about gasoline fuelled our friendship.”

I don’t know about you but I’m rolling around clutching my sides! I may be a master of most forms of comedy, but this guy is the undisputed king of geekstick humour. The way he built it up making it sound innocently like a story of his life, you never even saw the killer line on the horizon until he had dropped it. He doesn’t emphasise the punchline either with an exclamation mark, which a lesser man would, he just drops it casually and nonchalantly as if the delivery of the killer blow was as natural to him as programming in byte code. This man is an absolute comedy genius a fact that should have brought him fame long before whatever it was that finally did. Erm Windows or something wasn’t it?

If you still need convincing of this mans humoural integrity, and intrinsic and natural flair for geekstick humour, turn to page 12 in which he describes the time he found himself in a classroom full of girls where he was the only guy:

”It was hard to tear myself away from the machine”

Need I say more? I think I will anyway! Having delivered this sucker punch, Gates has you in his sights and when you turn over to page 14 he takes off the gloves and knocks you clean out with the following:

”We [Paul and he of course] did figure out a way to use the little chip to power a machine that could analyse information counted by traffic monitors on city streets. Many municipalities measured traffic flow by stringing a rubber hose over a selected street. When a car crossed the hose, it punched a paper tape inside a metal box at the end of the hose. We saw that we could use the 8008 to process these tapes, to print out statistics and graphs. We called our first company “Traf-O-Data”. We thought the name was sheer poetry.”

Ha!!!!! If I hadn’t warned you would you have seen that comin’?! I think not! Again, his control of the reader is impeccable, pretending to struggle to hold their attention with seemingly mundane writing whilst actually building up to a dambusting climax is awesome.

But it seems that all geniuses are flawed (except me of course) as we have seen with the writer of 2001 whose flaw was that he was a physicist.

Gates’ genius will perhaps never be appreciated because of his major flaws i.e. he is a megalomaniac and a programmer, but for the briefest of moments I implore you to step back and take Mr Gates into your heart and see that beneath the Microsoft empire lies the greatest comedian the world has ever known.

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