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Sunday, February 08, 2009

What's that buzzing about in Bill's brain?

Whilst speaking on the subject of malaria, at the annual Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED1) Conference. Bill Gates released a swarm of mosquitoes into his audience.

According to the AFP article, Gates stated that "malaria is spread by mosquitoes, " as he opened a jar full of them. He then let the mosquitoes buzz about for about a minute or so before announcing that they were malaria-free. Unfortunately, in the interim, the audience of technology movers and shakers panicked, in a frenzy of rioting, stampeding, and face-swatting.

After Gates let the audience in on the joke, being that the mosquitoes were malaria-free and of no danger whatsoever, those who were still in the room and conscious had quite the laugh. That was until a senior vice-president at another technology firm asked aloud, "What about Chinese bird-flu?" starting another panic that lasted a full 45 seconds. At that time, everyone stopped and looked up at Gates, who shrugged his shoulders and muttered, "I dunno." The panic then resumed, with people stomping on one another, hitting each other with chairs, pulling off each other's toupees, and setting things afire.

Gates later remarked, "Technology's a cutthroat business. This wasn't anything I haven't seen here before."

Still, this and all other signs point to a seriously bored Bill Gates. Ever since he resigned from the board of Microsoft, people have asked, "What's Bill going to do?" Usually, after asking this question, they shrug their shoulders and mutter, "Why am I asking a nobody like you?" and then walk away. Still, it is a fascinating question.2

Gates and his wife Melinda are very active in charitable causes, but as everyone knows, charity is a mild hobby for scheming meglomaniac business tyrants, especially one as talented as Gates.

So, in the interest of avoiding mass panics at future technology conventions, at least ones not having to do with upcoming releases of Microsoft Vista, here are some suggestions for how Bill can put his obvious and formidable talents to use. All we ask Bill is for a small cut of the enormous profits that are certain to result.

1. Buy the United Nations - Let's face it. It doesn't get any more challenging or bigger than running nations. However, running for President is too time-consuming and dependent on silly things like party affiliation and democratic process. The UN is a handy short-cut to taking charge of the whole blinking lot. What's more, they can be easily bought off. Just ask Saddam Hussein.3

2. Hollywood Executive Producer - If the messy tendrils of world government are not to Mr. Gates' liking, he could easily slip into the exciting world of film and television productions. He has enough money to finance any production short of Scipio Africanus and his "casting couch"4 would no doubt come with some amazing technological extras, although the constant reboots and Melinda's office next door would likely spoil the atmosphere.

3. Pop Music Promoter - Oh, we know they joked about a pop career in Bill's retirement video, the one where he called Bono and explained how good he was at Guitar Hero. However, being a promoter doesn't actually require musical talent. What it does require is money, a ruthless ability to run down competing performers, a willingness to choose looks over talent, and a wardrobe made up of pieces from the George Clinton label. Gates has everything but the last bit, and he can easily afford that, even the diamond-studded platform boots.

4. Reality Television Star - This is a no-brainer for Gates (and he can combine it with #2). All he has to do is go about his daily business and have it all filmed. Sure, the life of a retired multi-billionaire computer geek isn't exactly Survivor, but Gates has enough money to spice it up a bit. Fire a few household servants + Spend a million dollars on a new wing to the house + Have a celebrity-loaded pool party + the occasional inexplicable emergency helicopter ride5 = Surefire Megahit. And just think of the residuals.

5. Professional Wrestling Manager - Exchange the dry, businesslike spectacles for a pair of flame-shaped, pitch black bifocal sunshades. Then slap on an animal print suit and a belt with more shine on it than a disco ball. The great advantage of the profession is that you don't need actual managerial skills. You don't need any acting ability. You don't even need to know anything about wrestling. All you need to be able to do is to talk in a loud, obnoxious way, and occasionally hit someone with a chair.

If Bill can lift a chair, then number five is a cinch.

1 Named after Ted Danson, of course.
2 Well, as fascinating as a question about Bill Gates can be.
3 If you could, I mean. The bugger's dead at the moment.
4 We do not condone, we merely observe.
5 ...or hovercraft ride. Hovercrafts make great telly.

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